ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Mexican national living illegally in the United States was convicted Tuesday of cocaine trafficking.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated this case.
Edgar Solis, 29, was found guilty of attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He and his co-defendant, Daniel Solis-Castillo, 33, also an illegal alien from Mexico, were indicted in December 2013, and charged with cocaine trafficking. The indictment also charged Solis-Castillo with illegally re-entering the United States after previously being deported, which is a felony.
After Solis-Castillo pleaded guilty, a five-count superseding indictment against Solis was filed. The superseding indictment charged Solis with the following crimes: conspiracy to distribute cocaine, attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and using a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. The superseding indictment alleged that Solis committed the five crimes Nov. 13, 2013, in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.
Edgar Solis’s trial on the superseding indictment began March 15. Before the case was submitted to the jury, the court dismissed four of the five counts. The trial concluded Tuesday when the jury returned a verdict finding Solis guilty of attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
The evidence at trial established that on Nov. 13, 2013, Solis-Castillo negotiated to buy five kilograms of cocaine from an undercover officer. After Solis-Castillo arrived at the prearranged location to complete the drug deal, he did not like the quality of the cocaine and made a phone call to someone who could “check it out.” Shortly thereafter, Solis arrived at the location, inspected the cocaine, and engaged in a quiet conversation with Solis-Castillo. Solis-Castillo then told the undercover agent they would take one kilogram, and if they liked it, they would come back for the remainder. Solis agreed with Solis-Castillo. Solis-Castillo then asked Solis if he had a bag for the cocaine and Solis responded by walking to his vehicle. At that point, HSI special agents and Albuquerque police officers arrested Solis and Solis-Castillo. Solis initially was charged on state charges, which were dismissed after he was arrested in February 2014 on the federal charges in this case.
Solis had been on conditions of release while awaiting trial, but was detained after being convicted, pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Solis faces a statutory mandatory minimum of five years and maximum of 40 years in federal prison. After he completes his prison sentence, Solis will be transferred to ICE custody and placed in removal proceedings.
Solis-Castillo pleaded guilty in July 2014 to cocaine trafficking and administrative immigration charges. He was sentenced Dec. 30 to 37 months in federal prison. Solis-Castillo will also be transferred to ICE custody and placed in removal proceedings after he completes his prison sentence.
The following agencies assisted with this case: Albuquerque Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, New Mexico Department of Public Safety, and the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul Mysliwiec and Jack E. Burkhead, District of New Mexico, are prosecuting this case.