DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 27, 2017
James D. Tierney
, United States Attorney
Contact: Elizabeth M. Martinez

Another 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 47 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.


Yesterday, Albuquerque, N.M., resident Luis Arreola-Palma, 24, was sentenced in federal court to 48 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. 


Arreola-Palma’s co-defendant Daniel Carmona, 31, was charged by criminal complaint with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Aug. 3, 2016, in Bernalillo County, N.M., after Carmona allegedly distributed approximately 67 grams of methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement agents.  Thereafter, Arreola-Palma, Carmona and Gaspar Leal, 47, were indicted on Aug. 9, 2016, and charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine from July 21, 2016 through July 25, 2016.  In addition, Carmona was charged with distributing methamphetamine on July 25, 2016 and Aug. 3, 2016, and using and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime on Aug. 3, 2016.  According to the indictment, the defendants  committed the offenses in Bernalillo County, N.M. 


On July 28, 2017, Arreola-Palma pled guilty to an information charging him with conspiracy, and admitted that from July 21, 2016 through July 25, 2016, he conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine to another person.  Carmona and Lael have entered not guilty pleas to the charges in the indictment.  Both are detained pending trial.


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. Attorneys Norman Cairns and Samuel A. Hurtado.


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Phoenix Field Division