ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico man was sentenced Thursday to 37 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction for methamphetamine trafficking.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and HIDTA Region II Narcotics Task Force.
Kirk Castor, 37, of Kirtland, New Mexico, was one of eight San Juan County residents charged with federal narcotics trafficking offenses as the result of a multi-agency investigation into methamphetamine trafficking on the Navajo Indian Reservation in northwestern New Mexico.
This investigation was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, which combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in an effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking networks.
The investigation leading to the federal charges was initiated in response to an increase in methamphetamine trafficking on the Navajo Indian Reservation in the Shiprock, New Mexcio, area. This investigation identified eight defendants, who are charged in five indictments, through a series of methamphetamine purchases by undercover law enforcement officers. Law enforcement authorities seized more than 2 ½ pounds of methamphetamine, 10 firearms, about $1,600 in cash, and a vehicle during an arrest operation May 11, 2016.
Castor was charged with distributing methamphetamine on April 1 and April 3, 2015, in San Juan County, New Mexico. On Oct. 14, 2016, Castor pleaded guilty to the indictment and admitted that on April 1, 2015, he sold 0.7 grams (0.024 ounces) of methamphetamine to an undercover officer, and April 3, 2015, he sold 42 grams (about 1.5 ounces) of methamphetamine to an undercover officer.
Six of the other seven defendants have entered guilty pleas and have been sentenced. The remaining defendant is awaiting trial.
These cases were investigated by HSI’s Albuquerque office and the HIDTA Region II Narcotics Task Force, with assistance from the following New Mexico-based law enforcement agencies: FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, New Mexico State Police, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, Farmington Police Department, and New Mexico National Guard.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, 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.
Charges in indictments and complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted in a court of law.