Two Mexican Nationals Facing Federal Drug Charges Based on Significant Cocaine Seizures in New Mexico
First Arrested on May 17, 2018 on 12-Pound Cocaine Seizure and Second Arrested on May 19, 2018 on 21-Pound Cocaine Seizure
ALBUQUERQUE – Two Mexican Nationals who were arrested last week in connection with seizures of large quantities of cocaine made their initial appearances yesterday in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M. Miguel Angel Nava-Dominguez, 32, is facing cocaine trafficking offenses arising out of the seizure of more than 12 pounds of cocaine at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in southern New Mexico on May 17, 2018. Fidelmar Chavez-Quezada, 52, is charged with cocaine trafficking offenses arising out of the seizure of more than 21 pounds of cocaine during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 near Lordsburg, N.M., on May 19, 2018. Both men remain in federal custody pending preliminary hearings and detention hearings, which are currently scheduled for May 24, 2018.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Nava-Dominguez on May 17, 2018, after seizing approximately 5.805 kilograms (12.8 pounds) of cocaine allegedly concealed in Nava-Dominguez’s vehicle. According to the criminal complaint, the agents allegedly found the cocaine in Nava-Dominguez’s vehicle during an inspection at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint located on Interstate 25 near mile marker 26 in Dona Ana County, N.M.
An officer of the Lordsburg Police Department executed a traffic stop on Chavez-Quezada’s vehicle while patrolling Interstate 10 near Lordsburg on May 19, 2018. According to the criminal complaint, the officer requested and allegedly obtained Chavez-Quezada’s consent to search the vehicle. During his search of the vehicle, the officer allegedly found nine bundles, which the officer believed to contain controlled substances and led the officer to place Chavez-Quezada under arrest. The nine bundles allegedly contained approximately 9.77 kilograms (21.55 pounds) of cocaine.
If convicted of the charges against them, each man faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case against Nava-Dominguez was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the U.S. Border Patrol and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Selesia Winston.
The case against Chavez-Quezada was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Lordsburg Police Department, and the HIDTA Region VII Drug Task Force, a multi-agency task force that conducts long term investigations targeting regional, national and international drug trafficking organizations that operate in Luna, Hidalgo and Grant counties and follow-up on cases resulting from U.S. Border Patrol and New Mexico State Police interdiction efforts, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Saltman.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which 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 and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.