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Press Release

Zuni Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Cocaine Trafficking Charge

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Ocvatius Qualo, 46, of Zuni Pueblo, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a cocaine trafficking charge.

Qualo was arrested in June 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.  Qualo was arrested on tribal charges on May 29, 2015 after a BIA officer found that Qualo was in possession of cocaine during a routine traffic stop on State Highway 53 in Zuni Pueblo in McKinley County, N.M.  According to the complaint, Qualo had eight baggies, each of which contained a small amount of cocaine.

Qualo was indicted on June 24, 2015, and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.  During today’s change of plea hearing, Qualo pled guilty to the indictment.

At sentencing, Qualo faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.   His sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Northern Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Y. Ramirez is prosecuting the case.

Updated February 4, 2016

Indian Country Law and Justice