Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Trafficking and Child Pornography Charges Arising Out of Seizures at U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint Near Alamogordo
Defendant Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood
ALBUQUERQUE – Edgar Castillo-Alonso, 21, a Mexican national, pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to cocaine trafficking and child pornography charges arising out of seizures made on April 23, 2018, at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Highway 54 south of Alamogordo, N.M.
Castillo-Alonso was arrested in April 2018, on a criminal complaint charging him with possessing approximately 5.6 kilograms (12.4) pounds of cocaine with intent to distribute. The criminal complaint alleged that U.S. Border Patrol agents seized the cocaine from a vehicle driven by Castillo-Alonso during an inspection at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Highway 54 south of Alamogordo, in Otero County, N.M.
During today’s change of plea hearing, Castillo-Alonso pled guilty to a three-count felony information charging him with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of child pornography. In his plea agreement, Castillo-Alonso admitted that on April 23, 2018, he transported approximately 5.6 kilograms of cocaine in Otero County, with the intention of delivering the cocaine to another person in exchange for money. Castillo-Alonso admitted that the cocaine was concealed in a hidden compartment in his vehicle. Castillo-Alonso also admitted possessing images of child pornography, which were stored on his cellular phone.
At sentencing, Castillo-Alonso faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life imprisonment on the cocaine trafficking charges, and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment on the child pornography charge. Castillo-Alonso will also be required to register as a sex offender after he completes his prison sentence. He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces offices of the DEA and FBI, and the U.S. Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock E. Taylor is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/. Individuals with information relating to suspected child predators and suspected child abuse are encouraged to contact the Children’s Advocacy Center at (575) 526-3437.