Portales Man Sentenced to Eight Years for Federal Narcotics Trafficking and Firearms Conviction
ALBUQUERQUE – Justin Thomas Shipley, 31, of Portales, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to eight years in prison for his methamphetamine trafficking and firearms conviction. Shipley will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.
Shipley and co-defendant, Brandon William Wood, 36, 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, in Otero County, 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.
On Dec. 12, 2014, Shipley 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. In entering his guilty plea, Shipley admitted that beginning on April 18, 2014, he conspired with Wood to sell 80 grams of methamphetamine which was to be distributed in Portales. Shipley admitted that they obtained the methamphetamine in Arizona on April 22, 2014. Shipley and Wood 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 approximately 80 grams of methamphetamine, a shotgun and a handgun in Shipley’s vehicle during a routine vehicle inspection.
On April 1, 2015, Wood also pled guilty to a felony information charging him with participation in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, using and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Wood admitted to having a gun and ammunition because he was transporting methamphetamine even though he knew that he was not allowed to possess the firearms and ammunition because he had been convicted of at least four felonies. Wood was sentenced on June 23, 2015, to ten years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.
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 prosecuted the case.