For Immediate Release
Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charge
Defendant One of 104 Individuals Federally Charged as the Result of ATF-Led Investigation Pursued in Support of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Jonathan Griego, 27, 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
Griego and his co-defendants Richard Porras, 30 and Jesus Ramirez, 26, were arrested during an ATF-led investigation that resulted in the filing of 59 federal indictments and a 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.
Griego, Ramirez and Porras were arrested in Aug. 2016, on separate criminal complaints charging them with drug trafficking and firearms offenses. The three were subsequently charged together in a nine-count indictment filed on Aug. 9, 2016. The indictment charged Porras and Griego with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. It also charged Porras with distributing methamphetamine on three occasions, carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm; and Ramirez with possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute, carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
During today’s proceedings, Griego pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. In entering the guilty plea, Griego admitted that on Aug. 4, 2016, Griego possessed methamphetamine with the intent distribute the methamphetamine to an individual who unbeknownst to him was an undercover ATF agent. At sentencing, Griego faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
To date, 49 of the 104 defendants including Porras and Ramirez have entered guilty pleas, and 18 have been sentenced. The remaining defendants, have entered not guilty pleas. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
These cases were investigated by the Albuquerque office of ATF. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.
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