ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 38-year-old New Mexico man was sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison following his methamphetamine-trafficking conviction.
This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Pedro Lucero, from Farmington, New Mexico, must also serve three years of supervised release. Lucero was one of 29 individuals charged in February 2014 with drug trafficking resulting from a multi-agency drug-trafficking investigation in northwestern New Mexico.
This investigation culminated Feb. 26, 2014 when 26 of the defendants were arrested during a law enforcement operation led by HSI and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Region II Narcotics Task Force. Two other defendants were arrested during the course of the investigation; the last defendant was arrested March 3, 2014.
The 29 defendants were charged as a result of Operation “Brown Ice,” a yearlong investigation that initially targeted a methamphetamine-trafficking organization led by Isaac Anaya who operated throughout San Juan County, New Mexico. The investigation expanded to include other drug trafficking activity in the area. The investigation was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, which is a nationwide Department of Justice program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies and their local counterparts in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.
Thirteen of the defendants, including ringleader Isaac Anaya, 31, of Farmington, were charged in a 15-count federal indictment alleging a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in San Juan County from May 2013 through September 2013. The remaining 16 defendants were charged with state drug trafficking and firearms offenses based on criminal complaints.
During the investigation, officers seized about five pounds of methamphetamine and five firearms. The February 2014 law enforcement operation included executing 11 federal search warrants at the following New Mexico locations: two Bloomfield residences, four Farmington residences, two residences in San Juan County, two Bloomfield businesses, two Farmington businesses and a storage unit in Bloomfield.
The investigation also included executing three state search warrants at two residences in San Juan County and at a Farmington residence. Officers seized numerous firearms, including a fully automatic Glock 19, a short-barreled rifle and a carbine with an obliterated serial number; four blasting caps, four small binary explosives; and about 32 grams of methamphetamine.
The federal and state cases filed as a result of Operation “Brown Ice” were investigated by HSI Albuquerque, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, HIDTA Region II Narcotics Task Force, and the Bloomfield, Farmington and Aztec police departments.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reeve L. Swainston and Shana B. Long are prosecuting the federal case; Assistant District Attorney David Cowen of the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the state cases.
The HIDTA Region II Task Force is comprised of officers and investigators from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, and the Farmington, Bloomfield and Aztec police departments. Congress created the HIDTA program with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) that provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. It seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.