ALBUQUERQUE – Jose Alfredo Martinez-Salas, 37, a Mexican national, pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a cocaine trafficking charge.
Martinez-Salas and co-defendants Omar Garcia, 34, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Abraham Andres Rios, 37, a Mexican national, were arrested in Sept. 2016, on a criminal complaint charging them with cocaine and heroin trafficking offenses. According to the complaint, federal agents arrested the three defendants after they attempted to distribute approximately 6.1 kilograms of cocaine and a kilogram of heroin to undercover Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents.
Martinez-Salas and his co-defendants were subsequently charged in a four-count indictment on Oct. 12, 2016. The indictment charged Garcia and Rios with conspiracy and possession of cocaine and heroin with intent to distribute, and Martinez-Salas with distribution of cocaine. According to the indictment, the defendants committed the crimes on Sept. 15, 2016, in Bernalillo County, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Martinez-Salas pled guilty to Count 4 of the indictment charging him with distribution of cocaine. In entering the guilty plea, Martinez-Salas admitted that on Sept. 15, 2016, he distributed approximately 3.2 kilograms of cocaine to other individuals. Martinez-Salas admitted picking up a backpack containing the cocaine in Taos, N.M., with the intention of delivering the cocaine to individuals in Albuquerque. Law enforcement officers arrested Martinez-Salas in a restaurant parking lot in northwest Albuquerque after he delivered the cocaine to other individuals.
At sentencing, Martinez-Salas faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
Garcia and Rios have entered pleas of not guilty to the charges in the indictment. Charges in criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque offices of HSI and DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander M. Uballez is prosecuting the case.