Friday, December 23, 2016

Albuquerque Resident Sentenced to Prison for Violating Federal Drug Trafficking Laws

Defendant One of 104 Individuals Federally Charged as a Result of ATF-Led Investigation Pursued in Support of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Ray Martinez, 44, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced Dec. 15, 2016, in federal court to 77 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction.

Martinez and his co-defendants Simon A. Shields, 36 and David Corral-Valenzuela, 44, were arrested during an ATF-led investigation that resulted in the filing of 59 federal indictments and one federal criminal complaint charging 104 Bernalillo County residents with federal firearms and narcotics trafficking offenses.  The investigation began in mid-April 2016, when ATF personnel from throughout the country joined forces with federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies in New Mexico to combat the high rate of violent crime in the Albuquerque metropolitan area.  The investigators utilized a number of investigative techniques, including undercover operations, historical investigation and targeting of multi-convicted felons in possession of firearms.

The investigation was undertaken in support of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies collaborate with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution primarily based on their prior criminal convictions with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.

Martinez and Shields were arrested in July 2016, on an indictment charging them with conspiracy and methamphetamine trafficking charges.  The indictment was subsequently superseded on July 28, 2016, to include Corral-Valenzuela.  The superseding indictment charged Martinez and Shields with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine on June 13, 2016, Shields and Corral-Valenzuela with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine on June 21, 2016, and Corral-Valenzuela with being an alien in possession of a firearm and illegal reentry into the United States on July 6, 2016.  The superseding indictment included forfeiture provisions requiring the co-defendants to forfeit $6,550 to the United States.

On Sept. 2, 2016, Martinez pled guilty to one count of distribution of methamphetamine, and admitted that on June 13, 2016, he distributed more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

Martinez is the first defendant to be sentenced of the 104 defendants charged as a result of the ATF investigation.   To date, 19 of the 104 defendants have entered guilty pleas.  The remaining defendants, including Martinez’s co-defendants Shields and Corral-Valenzuela, have entered not guilty pleas.  Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Albuquerque offices of ATF and DEA.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Brawley and Paul Mysliwiec are prosecuting the case.

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