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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mexican National Sentenced to More Than Fifteen Years for Trafficking Methamphetamine in Roswell

ALBUQUERQUE – Hector Ruiz, 34, a Mexican national from Jalisco, Mexico, was sentenced late yesterday afternoon in Las Cruces federal court to 188 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction.  The sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, 5th Judicial District Attorney Janetta B. Hicks, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph A. Arabit of the El Paso Division of the DEA.

Ruiz, who was an undocumented alien illegally in the United States, and his co-defendant Mario Alvarez, also of Roswell, were arrested on Sept. 14, 2012, on a criminal complaint alleging methamphetamine trafficking charges. A three-count indictment subsequently was filed charging Ruiz and Alvarez with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and charging Ruiz alone with another count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  The indictment alleged that the offenses were committed in Roswell on Sept. 14, 2012.

According to court filings, on Sept. 14, 2012, the DEA and Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force conducted surveillance of Alvarez in Roswell based on a tip that he was planning to sell a pound of methamphetamine later that day in Artesia.  After officers observed Alvarez meet with Ruiz, they executed a traffic stop on Alvarez’s vehicle and recovered a bag containing approximately one pound of methamphetamine hidden under the front passenger seat.  During a post-arrest statement, Alvarez admitted he planned to deliver the methamphetamine to Artesia.

The officers then executed a search warrant at a Roswell residence where they recovered approximately three pounds of methamphetamine and $30,000, which Ruiz admitted belonged to him.  After Ruiz was arrested, he admitted delivering a pound of methamphetamine to Alvarez earlier that day.  Ruiz pled guilty to all three counts of the indictment on June 27, 2013.

Alvarez pled guilty to the two counts in the indictment against him on Feb. 8, 2013.  He remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  Alvarez faces a maximum sentence of not less than five and not more than 40 years in prison when he is sentenced.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terri J. Abernathy of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald F. Moore, Jr., who is also an Assistant District Attorney in the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

The case was brought as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.

Updated January 26, 2015