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Las Cruces man sentenced for distributing cocaine in Dona Ana county

LAS CRUCES, NM - The Department of Justice says Juan Velasquez, 27, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for participating in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine in Doña Ana County.

            Velasquez was arrested after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in September of last year.

         The 18-count indictment was issued after agents working for the DEA, FBI and Border Patrol concluded a six-month investigation into a drug trafficking organization allegedly led by a Mexican national by the name of Joel Ibarra-Torres, 47.

The indictment alleged Ibarra-Torres and several members of his family trafficked cocaine from March 2016 until Sept. 2016. 

On Dec. 22, 2016, Velasquez pleaded guilty to conspiracy and three counts of distribution of cocaine.

According to a news release by the Department of Justice, Velasquez admitted he would have someone pick up a 9-ounce package of cocaine and deliver it to him in Las Cruces. Velasquez admitted to sending money back to Mexico to pay for the drug.

Velasquez  admitted he distributed about  250 grams of cocaine to an individual working with law enforcement on June 8,  July 14, and Aug. 25 of  2016, according to the news release.

 Velasquez pleaded guilty to distributing between 2 to 3.5 kilograms of cocaine.

So far, seven co-defendants have pleaded guilty in the scheme, four have been sentenced:

Noemi Ibarra, 24, of Las Cruces - sentence hearing pending

Alejandro Chavez, 28, of Las Cruces - sentence hearing pending

Joel Ibarra, Jr., 22, of Sunland Park - sentenced

Denise Duarte, 25, of Sunland Park - sentenced

Gabriela Castro, 25, of Mexico - sentenced

Rene Cruz-Vargas, 41, of Mexico - sentenced

 Ibarra-Torres has not been arrested and is considered a fugitive. 


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