DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico

For Immediate Release

Thursday, November 16, 2017
James D. Tierney
, United States Attorney
Contact: Elizabeth M. Martinez

50th 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 50 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, Simon Shields, 37, of Bernalillo, N.M., was sentenced in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 63 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction.
 
Shields and his co-defendant Ray Martinez, 46, were charged in an indictment with conspiracy and methamphetamine trafficking offenses.  The indictment was subsequently superseded on July 28, 2016, to include David Corral-Valenzuela, 45.  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 April 12, 2017, Shields pled guilty to Count 2 of the superseding indictment charging him with distribution of methamphetamine and admitted that on June 13, 2016, he aided and abetted his co-defendant by transporting approximately 56.8 grams of methamphetamine, which was later sold to an undercover law enforcement agent.  Shields further admitted that he assisted another co-defendant in selling methamphetamine on June 21, 2016.  Martinez entered a guilty plea on Sept. 2, 2016, and was sentenced on Dec. 15, 2016, to 77 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release.  Corral-Valenzuela is currently scheduled for trial in Feb. 2018.
 
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 is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Brawley and Paul Mysliwiec
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Field Division: Phoenix Field Division