Twenty-four defendants have pleaded guilty in federal court to trafficking drugs in Dona Ana County, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque.
The charges against the defendants were the result of a four-month multi-agency investigation.
Monday’s guilty plea was the 24th guilty plea entered by defendants arrested as a result of the investigation. The charges against one of the remaining three defendants were dismissed in support of his prosecution on more significant methamphetamine trafficking charges in the Western District of Texas. Charges against the other two were dismissed with leave to refile.
Javier Castruita, 45, of Anthony, N.M., entered a guilty plea yesterday to cocaine trafficking charges in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M. His guilty plea resolves the last remaining case charged as a result of a multi-agency investigation that culminated in the filing of drug trafficking charges against 28 residents from Doña Ana County, N.M., and El Paso County, Texas, last spring.
Castruita and 27 others were charged in 12 criminal complaints with distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana in and around southern Doña Ana County. The criminal complaints were unsealed on May 8, 2013, following a multi-agency arrest operation resulting in the arrests of 22 defendants. Five others subsequently were arrested, leaving one fugitive.
Castruita and his two co-defendants Gloria Portillo Valdivia, 51, and Carlos Alberto Valdivia, 56, both of Anthony, N.M., were charged with cocaine trafficking offenses. Portillo Valdivia pled guilty on Sept. 12, 2013, and was sentenced on Dec. 4, 2013 to ten months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. Valdivia pled guilty on Oct. 4, 2013, under a plea agreement that requires the imposition of an 84-month prison sentence. Castruita, who pled guilty this morning, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison at sentencing.