For Immediate Release
Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charge
Defendant is 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 – Manuel Boydston, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to a methamphetamine trafficking charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Boydston and his co-defendant Thomas Montoya, 40, also of Albuquerque, 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.
Boydston and Montoya were charged in a three-count indictment filed on June 30, 2016. The indictment charged Montoya with distribution of methamphetamine on June 6, 2016, and Montoya and Boydston with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine on June 14, 2016. According to the indictment, the offenses took place in Bernalillo County.
During today’s proceedings, Boydston pled guilty to Count 3 of the indictment charging him with distributing methamphetamine. In entering the guilty plea, Boydston admitted that on June 14, 2016, he sold approximately 118 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent.
At sentencing, Boydston faces a statutory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
To date, 26 of the 104 defendants have entered guilty pleas and two have been sentenced. The remaining defendants, including Montoya, 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 office of ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Wishard is prosecuting the case.
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