For Immediate Release
48th Defendant Sentenced on Federal Charges Arising Out of ATF-Led Operation Targeting Drug Trafficking and Firearms Crime in Bernalillo County
Defendant among the 103 Individuals Federally Charged as the Result of ATF-Led Investigation Pursued in Support of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – In Aug. 2016, a multi-agency investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concluded with the filing of 59 federal indictments and a federal criminal complaint charging 103 Bernalillo County residents with federal firearms and narcotics trafficking offenses. To date, 80 of the 103 defendants charged as the result of this investigation have entered guilty pleas and 48 of them have been sentenced.
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.
Today, Margarito Ruiz, 36, was sentenced in federal court to 120 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for distributing methamphetamine.
Ruiz was arrested in Jan. 2017, on an indictment charging him with distributing methamphetamine on May 23, 2016, and with being a felon in possession of a firearm on May 25, 2016. In May 2016, Ruiz was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance and shoplifting. According to the indictment, Ruiz committed the offenses in Bernalillo County, N.M. On July 6, 2017, Ruiz pled guilty to a methamphetamine trafficking charge, and admitted that on May 23, 2016, he distributed approximately two ounces of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent.
Twenty of the defendants charged as the result of the ATF investigation have entered not guilty pleas to the charges against them. Charges in indictments are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law. Two defendants are fugitives and the charges against two defendants have been dismissed.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of ATF and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eva Fontanez.
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