ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Alexander MM Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced today that Jose Mendoza and Ryan Rodriguez have been convicted for their roles in a drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy. silver.
A grand jury indicted the defendants on February 25, 2020. According to their plea agreements and other court records, from June 22, 2018 to February 25, 2020, José Mendoza, 34, of Medanales, New Mexico, and his wife, Natalie Mendoza, 37, conspired with others to distribute cocaine in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. Rodriguez, 29, of Chamita, New Mexico, allegedly obtained cocaine from José Mendoza, converted it to cocaine base, and then sold it to others in the Española Valley. From October 7, 2019 to January 8, 2020, Rodriguez sold and arranged for the sale of cocaine and cocaine base to an undercover agent.
Natalie Mendoza kept records of drug sales and collected proceeds from drug transactions. Natalie and José Mendoza deposited the proceeds of illegal drug transactions into checking, savings and loan accounts at various financial institutions to conceal the source of the money. Deposits were often split to avoid amounts that would trigger reporting requirements. The couple also made significant payments for loans or mortgages, including loans for vehicles purchased under other names. José Mendoza has admitted to using false tax returns to qualify for loans.
José and Natalie Mendoza pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. On June 7, José Mendoza was sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison followed by four years of probation. Natalie Mendoza’s sentence has been extended until a date to be determined.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, to five counts of using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking offenses, to one count of basic cocaine distribution, to four counts of distributing 28 grams or more of base cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of base cocaine. Rodriguez was sentenced on June 10 to four years in prison followed by three years of probation.
In addition to their prison sentences, the co-defendants in the case also confiscated numerous vehicles, several firearms and $24,893.69 in US currency.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Albuquerque District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated this matter with the assistance of the Region III Narcotics Task Force of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Zone ( HIDTA), which includes members of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe Police Department, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, and Taos Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Nelson, Peter Eicker and Steve Kotz prosecuted the case.
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