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Justice News

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

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oklahoma Couple Sentenced to Fifteen Years in Prison for Conviction on Methamhetamine Trafficking, Firearms and Immagration Charges

ALBUQUERQUE – Rafael Goxcon-Chagal, 52, and Maria Vianey Medina-Copete, 36, both residents of Tulsa, Okla., each was sentenced today to a 15-year term of imprisonment for their narcotics trafficking and firearms convictions. Goxcon-Chagal will be on supervised release for five years after completing his prison sentence. Medina-Copete, a Mexican national who also was convicted of re-entering the United States without authorization after having previously been deported, will be deported after completing her prison sentence.

The sentences were announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit of the El Paso Field Division of the DEA.

A federal jury convicted Goxcon-Chagal and Medina-Copete on Aug. 10, 2012, of all counts in an indictment that charged the couple with (1) conspiracy to violate the federal narcotics trafficking laws; (2) with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; and (3) using a firearm during a drug trafficking offense. The indictment also charged MedinaCopete with (4) the unlawful possession of a firearm by an illegal alien; and (5) illegal re-entry by a removed alien.

According to the evidence at trial, on June 28, 2011, a New Mexico State Police officer executed a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40 of a vehicle driven by Goxcon-Chagal with Medina-Copete as a passenger. When the officer made contact with Goxcon-Chagal, he observed that Goxcon-Chagal was unusually nervous. Goxcon-Chagal proffered an Oklahoma driver's license but could not locate the registration and insurance information for the vehicle. When Medina-Copete managed to locate the vehicle information, the officer noted that the owner of the vehicle was another person with a Las Vegas, Nev., address and that the vehicle had only recently been insured. The officer also noted a strong chemical odor in the vehicle and observed multiple air fresheners in the vehicle.

After getting conflicting information regarding their travel and the identity of the owner of the vehicle from Goxcon-Chagal and Medina-Copete, the officer asked Goxcon-Chagal if the couple were transporting drugs, weapons or other contraband in the vehicle. Goxcon-Chagal denied that he was transporting contraband. The then officer requested and obtained consent from Goxcon-Chagal and Medina-Copete to search the vehicle. After a narcotics canine alerted to the front passenger side of the vehicle, the officer located a false compartment behind the passenger side airbag which contained two packages of white glass-like substances which appeared to be methamphetamine. Chemical analysis later revealed that the packages contained more than a kilogram of methamphetamine.

Later, when a DEA agent searched a duffle bag that Medina-Copete identified as her property, he uncovered a Walther P99 pistol wrapped in a towel. When the agent asked about the pistol, Medina-Copete said that the pistol belonged to Goxcon-Chagal.

Medina-Copete previously had been deported from the United States to Mexico at Otay Mesa, Calif., on Oct. 24, 2007, and re-entered the United States without authorization.

Goxcon-Chagal and Medina-Copete have been in federal custody since they were arrested on June 28, 2011.

The case was investigated by the DEA and the New Mexico State Police, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jon K. Stanford and Raul Torrez.

Updated January 26, 2015