Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Methamphetamine in Eddy County
ALBUQUERQUE – Israel Mireles-Rivera, 33, a Mexican national unlawfully in the United States and residing in Hagerman, N.M., pled guilty this afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to methamphetamine trafficking charges.
Mireles-Rivera and co-defendant Ediberto Guzman, 61, of Carlsbad, N.M., were arrested in Jan. 2014, on a three-count indictment alleging methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges. Count 1 of the indictment charged the two men with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from Feb. 2013 through Oct. 2013 in Eddy and Chaves Counties, N.M. Counts 2 and 3 respectively charged Mireles-Rivera alone with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and being an alien illegally in possession of a firearm.
According to the indictment, between Feb. 2013 and Oct. 2013, Mireles-Rivera provided methamphetamine to Guzman on multiple occasions, and Guzman sold the methamphetamine to others, including a person who was working as a confidential source for law enforcement officers. It also alleged that on Oct. 17, 2013, Mireles-Rivera had more than 180 grams of methamphetamine hidden in a vehicle outside his residence and a smaller amount of methamphetamine inside his residence.
Guzman pled guilty to Count 1 of the indictment on April 25, 2014, and was sentenced on June 26, 2014, to 48 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
During this afternoon’s proceedings, Mireles-Rivera pled guilty to a two-count felony information charging him with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. In entering his guilty plea, Mireles-Rivera admitted that between Feb. 2013 and Oct. 2013, he was involved in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy. He acknowledged that during this period, he supplied methamphetamine to an individual who sold the drugs to others, including a person who was acting as a confidential source for law enforcement. Mireles-Rivera also admitted that subsequent to his arrest, law enforcement officers seized approximately eight ounces of methamphetamine when they searched his house and vehicle.
At sentencing, Mireles-Rivera faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. He will be deported to Mexico after completing his prison sentence. Mireles-Rivera remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA, the HITDA Region VI Pecos Valley Drug Task Force and the Carlsbad Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Renee L. Camacho and Randy M. Castellano of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
The HITDA Region VI Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department, Artesia Police Department, New Mexico Probation and Parole, and the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.