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Transnational Gangs
08/18/2010

N.M. gang member convicted of drug, weapons charges

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - A federal grand jury on Aug. 16 convicted an admitted gang member on drug trafficking and firearm charges, following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The U.S. Border Patrol, the U.S. Marshals Service and the New Mexico State Police also participated in the investigation.

Nathan Archuleta, aka "Enemy," 30, was convicted of conspiring to smuggle methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico in July 2009 by using women who concealed the drugs in their body cavities.

Archuleta, an admitted member of the Sureño gang, also was convicted of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The firearm conviction stemmed from Archuleta's arrest Nov. 5, 2009 in Los Lunas, N.M., after a police chase. Archuleta refused to pull over when a New Mexico state police officer tried to stop him for a traffic violation. Archuleta ultimately lost control of his car and crashed after officers deployed a "spike strip" to deflate his tires. When officers arrested him, Archuleta had two loaded firearms and was wearing body armor that had been stolen from the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility.

Archuleta was prohibited from possessing firearms because he previously had been convicted of felony battery on a police officer in the Eleventh Judicial District Court of New Mexico. He was also convicted in U.S. District Court of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Archuleta, who remains in custody, faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.

Assistant U.S. attorneys Stephen Wong and Nathan Lichvarcik, District of New Mexico, are prosecuting this case.