ALBUQUERQUE — A New Mexico man was sentenced Monday to six years and three months in federal prison for drug trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, District of New Mexico.
This investigation was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Region II Narcotics Task Force.
Casey Lamotte, 30, of Flora Vista, New Mexico, was sentenced June 29 to 75 months in prison, which is to be followed by two years of supervised release. Lamotte was one of 29 individuals charged with drug trafficking offenses following a multi-agency investigation targeting drug trafficking in northwestern New Mexico. Lamotte pleaded guilty Feb. 26 to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
This investigation culminated on Feb. 26, 2014 when 26 of the defendants were arrested during an HSI-led law enforcement operation. Two other defendants were later arrested with the final defendant arrested March 3, 2014.
The 29 defendants were charged following Operation “Brown Ice,” a yearlong investigation that initially targeted a methamphetamine trafficking organization led by Isaac Anaya which distributed quantities of methamphetamine throughout New Mexico’s San Juan County and expanded to include other drug trafficking activity in the area.
Thirteen of the defendants, including ringleader Isaac Anaya, 31, of Farmington, New Mexico, were charged in a 15-count federal indictment alleging a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in San Juan County from May 2013 through Sept. 2013. The remaining 16 defendants were charged with state drug trafficking and firearms offenses based on criminal complaints. During the course of the investigation, officers seized about five pounds of methamphetamine and five firearms.
On Feb. 24, 2014, 11 federal search warrants and three state warrants were executed and numerous items were seized, including a fully automatic Glock 19 9mm pistol, a short-barreled rifle, a carbine rifle with an obliterated serial number, four blasting caps, and four small binary explosives; 31.7 grams of methamphetamine.
Lamotte admitted that from May 28 through Sept. 25, 2013, he acted as a drug courier for Isaac Anaya by traveling from Arizona and California to Farmington to deliver methamphetamine to Anaya, and connected Anaya with other defendants in this case to obtain more methamphetamine. At the time of his arrest, Lamotte was traveling to Farmington from California, and was found with 851 grams (1.9 pounds) of methamphetamine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Reeve L. Swainston, District of Mexico, is prosecuting the federal case; Assistant District Attorney David Cowen of the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the state cases.