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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Portales Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Narcotics Trafficking and Firearms Charges

ALBUQUERQUE – Brandon William Wood, 35, of Portales, N.M., entered a guilty plea today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Wood will be sentenced to a range of eight to ten years in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Wood and co-defendant, Justin Thomas Shipley, 30, also of Portales, N.M., were arrested on April 24, 2014, in Otero County, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging them with methamphetamine trafficking charges.  They subsequently were indicted on methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges in a six-count indictment filed on July 16, 2014.

The indictment alleged that in April 2014, Shipley and Wood participated in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine, and also charged the two men with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  The indictment further charged Wood and Shipley with using and carrying firearms in relation to a drug trafficking crime and Wood with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

In July 2014, Wood was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he had been convicted of several felony offenses, including conspiracy to sell controlled substances, manufacturing, sale and possession of controlled substances, conspiracy to cultivate marijuana, and driving while intoxicated.

During today’s plea hearing, Wood pled guilty to a four-count felony information charging him with participation in a methamphetamine trafficking  conspiracy, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, using a carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  In entering his guilty plea, Wood admitted that beginning on April 18, 2014, he conspired with his co-defendant to acquire 80 grams of methamphetamine which was to be distributed in Portales, N.M.  Wood admitted that they completed their transaction on April 22, 2014.  Wood and his co-conspirator were transporting the drugs from Arizona to Portales on April 24, 2014, when they were arrested at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Alamogordo, N.M., after Border Patrol agents found 80 grams of methamphetamine, a hand gun, a shotgun and ammunition in their vehicle during a routine vehicle inspection.  Wood admitted to having a gun and ammunition because he was transporting methamphetamine even though he knew that he not allowed to possess the firearms and ammunition because he had been convicted of at least four felonies.

On Dec. 12, 2014, Shipley also pled guilty to a felony information charging him with participation in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, distribution of methamphetamine; and using and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.  Shipley has been in federal custody since his arrest.  He remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the Alamogordo Station of the U.S. Border Patrol.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Wright of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

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Updated April 1, 2015