Santa Fe Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Participating in Crack Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy
ALBUQUERQUE – Robert Romero, 24, of Santa Fe, N.M., was sentenced today to 120 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release for his role in a cocaine base trafficking conspiracy. Romero previously had entered a guilty plea on May 13, 2014, to two drug trafficking charges and a firearms charge.
Romero was one of five men who were indicted in April 2013, on federal narcotics and firearms charges as the result of “Operation Rio Grande Stucco,” a DEA led investigation into an organization that allegedly manufactured and distributed cocaine base, more commonly known as “crack” or “crack cocaine,” in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties, N.M.
The five-count indictment charged Romero and Michael Jaramillo, 24, also of Santa Fe, and Albuquerque residents, Gabriel Mirabal, 33, Sam Eylicio, Jr., 37, and Dominic Anaya, 33, with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties between May 2012 and April 2013. Romero was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute in Santa Fe in July 2012, and with using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Jaramillo also was charged with distributing crack cocaine in Santa Fe in March 2012. Mirabal was charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute in Albuquerque in Feb. 2013.
Jaramillo entered a guilty plea on March 21, 2014, to the conspiracy count and admitted purchasing crack cocaine from two of his co-defendants and then reselling it to others. On July 30, 2014, Jaramillo was sentenced today to 78 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release.
Eylicio pled guilty on June 23, 2014, to participating in a cocaine base trafficking conspiracy. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Eylicio will be sentenced to 125 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release. Eylicio remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing which is scheduled for Sept. 22, 2014.
Anaya entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine on Aug. 5, 2014, and faces a prison term of not less than five years and not more than 40 years when he is sentenced. Anaya remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing which is scheduled for Nov. 3, 2014.
Mirabal has entered a not guilty plea to the indictment. If convicted, Mirabal faces a maximum penalty of not less than five years or more than 40 years in prison. He remains in custody pending trial. An indictment is merely an accusation, and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the HIDTA Region III Drug Task Force, with assistance from the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.
The Region III Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe Police Department and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and receives support from the HIDTA – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area – program. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy that 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.
The investigation leading to the indictment, has been designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) program, a nationwide Department of Justice initiative that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.