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Press Release

Two Defendants Arrested During 2023 Joint Enforcement Operation in Carlsbad Plead Guilty to Conspiracy Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Towanda R. Thorne-James, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration El Paso Division, announced today that Brian Kain Purdy and Sabino Alfonso Maldonado, two of the 12 defendants arrested during a joint enforcement operation last year in Carlsbad, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States and conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States. Purdy, 42, of Carlsbad, will remain on conditions of release pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled. Maldonado, 32, of Carlsbad, will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

In their plea agreements, Purdy and Maldonado admitted that on March 8, 2023, they picked up six firearms in Carlsbad at the direction of a co-conspirator and, together with another individual, wrapped them in towels and loaded them into a Jeep, hiding them underneath other items in the Jeep. Purdy and Maldonado then turned the Jeep over to another individual, who had traveled to Carlsbad from Mexico in order to pick up the firearms and transport them back to Mexico. As the individual from Mexico began to drive back to Mexico with the firearms, he was stopped by law enforcement officer, and the firearms were seized. The seized firearms are all controlled on the Commerce Control List, and neither Purdy nor Maldonado had obtained a license and written authorization to export the firearms. Purdy and Maldonado admitted that they knew that the attempted exportation of the firearms was in violation of the law.

At sentencing, Purdy and Maldonado both face up to 10 years in prison, followed by three years of mandatory supervised release.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated this case with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force led the investigation, with enforcement assistance from the United States Marshal Service, Carlsbad Police Department, Eddy County Sheriff’ Department, Roswell Police Department, Chaves County Drug Task Force, DEA Airwing and Customs and Border Patrol. The New Mexico Air National Guard’s Air Unit, Artesia Police Department and Customs and Border Patrol’s Air Unit provided support during the operation on August 1, 2023.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Renee L. Camacho and Devon Aragon-Martinez are prosecuting the case. This investigation was conducted as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at



Updated January 24, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-31