ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 46-year-old illegal alien from Mexico was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in federal prison for trafficking cocaine and illegally re-entering the United States after having been deported.
Special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.
Luis Mendoza-Alarcon, 46, and co-defendant Giovanni Montijo-Dominguez, 37, also from Mexico, were both arrested Oct. 7, 2014, and charged by criminal complaint with cocaine trafficking. They were indicted Nov. 5, 2014, and both were charged with cocaine trafficking; Montijo-Dominguez also was charged with illegal re-entry to the United States.
Mendoza-Alarcon and Montijo-Dominguez subsequently were charged in a superseding indictment June 30, 2016. The superseding indictment charged Mendoza-Alarcon and Montijo-Dominguez with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute from Oct. 3 through Oct. 7, 2014; Mendoza-Alarcon with carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime Oct. 7, 2014; and Montijo-Dominguez with illegal re-entry Oct. 7, 2014. According to the superseding indictment, the defendants committed the offenses in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.
On June 2, 2017, after a two-week trial, a federal jury convicted Mendoza-Alarcon and Montijo-Dominguez of conspiring to possess at least five kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute.
The evidence at trial established that between Oct. 3 and Oct. 7, 2014, Mendoza-Alarcon negotiated the sale of about six kilograms (13.2 pounds) of cocaine from an undercover law enforcement agent. On Oct. 7, 2014, Mendoza-Alarcon and Montijo-Dominguez arrived in the parking lot of a store in southwest Albuquerque in a white Chevrolet Tahoe to meet with undercover agents. Although Mendoza-Alarcon expressed concern to the undercover agents that the parking lot might be occupied by law enforcement, the defendants proceeded with the sale by presenting the undercover agents with a large sum of cash to buy six kilograms of cocaine.
Law enforcement agents testified that, once the signal to arrest Mendoza-Alarcon and Montijo-Dominguez was given, Montijo-Dominguez attempted to run away, but was quickly caught and arrested. The agents searched the defendants’ white Chevrolet Tahoe, and found a functional firearm loaded with live ammunition.
On July 27, 2017, Montijo-Dominguez pleaded guilty to one count of the superseding indictment charging him with illegally re-entering the United States. Montijo-Dominguez was sentenced Dec. 12, 2017, to 10 years in prison.
Both men will be placed in removal proceedings after they complete their prison sentences.