DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 9, 2017
Damon P. Martinez
, United States Attorney
Contact: Elizabeth M. Martinez

Albuquerque Resident Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charge

Defendant 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 – Noe Urias, 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.
Urias and his codefendants Angelica Marie Santiesteban, 40, and Patrick Zamora, 22, 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.
Urias and Santiesteban were charged in a four-count indictment filed on June 30, 2016, with methamphetamine trafficking offenses.  The indictment was superseded on July 28, 2016, to include Zamora and an additional methamphetamine trafficking charge.  The superseding indictment charged all three codefendants with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from May 2, 2016 through June 20, 2016, and distribution of methamphetamine on June 20, 2016; Urias and Santiesteban with distribution of methamphetamine on May 2, 2016 and May 19, 2016; and Urias with distribution of methamphetamine on May 18, 2016.  According to the superseding indictment, the offenses took place in Bernalillo County.
During today’s proceedings, Urias pled guilty to Count 3 of the superseding indictment charging him with distribution of methamphetamine and admitted that on May 18, 2016, he sold methamphetamine in exchange for money.  At sentencing, Urias faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled. 
To date, 30 of the 104 defendants have entered guilty pleas including Santiesteban and three 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.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the ATF and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Han.
Phoenix Field Division