Two Mexican Nationals Arrested in New Mexico on Federal Cocaine Trafficking Charges
Defendants arrested by U.S. Border Patrol Agents after Finding Large Quantities of Cocaine during Separate Routine Checkpoint Inspections
ALBUQUERQUE – Two Mexican nationals were arrested on May 15, 2015, after U.S. Border Patrol agents allegedly found large quantities of cocaine in their vehicles during separate routine inspections at the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint on Interstate 25 north of Las Cruces, N.M. J. Cesar Magallanes-Trejo, 46, and Roberto Rodriguez-Ponce, 28, made their initial appearances in Las Cruces federal court earlier today on separate criminal complaints charging them with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Both men remain in custody pending detention hearings which have yet to be scheduled.
The criminal complaint charging Magallanes-Trejo alleges that U.S. Border Patrol agents found approximately 11 kilograms (24 pounds) of cocaine concealed in his vehicle during a routine checkpoint inspection. According to a separate criminal complaint, Rodriguez-Ponce was arrested after U.S. Border Patrol agents found approximately 4.8 kilograms (ten and a half pounds) of cocaine concealed in a hidden compartment in his vehicle.
If convicted of the charge in his criminal complaint, Magallanes-Trejo faces a statutory mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of life imprisonment. If convicted of the charge against him, Rodriguez-Ponce faces a statutory mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison. Charges in complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Both cases were investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol and the Las Cruces office of the DEA. The two cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office; the Magallanes-Trejo case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis A. Martinez and the Rodriguez-Ponce case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Clara Nevarez Cobos.