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10/31/2013

Farmington man sentenced to 15 years for drug trafficking and firearms smuggling

ALBUQUERQUE – A man from Farmington, N.M., was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in federal prison and five years of supervised release following his conviction on drug trafficking and firearms charges.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbough, District of New Mexico. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Region II Narcotics Task Force.

In addition to his 190-month prison sentence, Martin Moreno, 53, was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.

According to court documents, Moreno was arrested in March 2012 on a federal criminal complaint charging him with drug trafficking offenses. He subsequently was charged in a seven-count second superseding indictment with possessing methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute; using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and three counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. Moreno possessed the narcotics, numerous firearms and ammunition on Feb. 27, 2012 in San Juan County, N.M. At the time, Moreno was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he previously had been convicted of trafficking cocaine in the 11th Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico in San Juan County. Moreno was arrested on state charges in Feb. 2012, which were dismissed after the federal charges were filed.

The charges against Moreno arose from evidence seized Feb. 27 when the Region II Narcotics Task Force and HSI executed search warrants at Moreno’s residence, two storage lockers and a truck. Moreno acknowledged that he was the sole owner of the contents of the storage lockers and his truck.

In July 2013, Moreno pleaded guilty to all seven counts of the second superseding indictment. In his plea agreement, Moreno admitted that on Feb., 27, 2012, he possessed about 120 grams of methamphetamine, a kilogram of cocaine and a kilogram of marijuana, all of which were stored in a storage locker in Farmington. He also admitted keeping a stolen pistol and ammunition in the storage locker to protect the drugs.

Moreno also admitted that in a different storage locker, he stored 14 firearms, including a machine gun, shotguns, hunting rifles and semi-automatic rifles. He acknowledged that as a convicted felon, he was prohibited from owning firearms.

In his plea agreement, Moreno also admitted possessing additional amounts of drugs, including a small amount of methamphetamine and a supply of marijuana, and a pistol at his residence. Moreno also acknowledged that the $3,000 in cash found in his bedroom and the $66,000 in cash found in his truck were proceeds of his narcotics trafficking activities.

Moreno’s plea agreement requires that Moreno forfeit the firearms, ammunition and narcotics proceeds seized on Feb. 27, 2012.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Jon Ganjei and Samuel A. Hurtado, District of New Mexico, prosecuted the case.

This case was part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets "the worst of the worst" offenders for federal prosecution. Under this anti-violence initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.