DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Friday, August 25, 2017
James D. Tierney
, United States Attorney
Contact: Elizabeth M. Martinez

Another Sentenced and Two More Plead Guilty to Federal Charges Arising Out of ATF-Led Operation Targeting Drug Trafficking and Firearms Crime in Bernalillo County

74 of 103 Federal Defendants Charged as the Result of ATF-Led Investigation Pursued in Support of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative have Pleaded Guilty

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, 74 of the 103 defendants charged as the result of this investigation have entered guilty pleas and 35 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.
           
This week, an Albuquerque resident who charged as the result of the investigation was sentenced in federal court.  Jesus Ramirez, 21, was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for violating the federal firearms laws. 
 
In addition, two more Albuquerque residents entered guilty pleas in federal court this week.   Felix Ulibarri, 39, pled guilty on Aug. 22, 2017, to a methamphetamine trafficking charge under a plea agreement that recommends a sentence within the range of 84 to 105 months in federal prison.  Joshua Bright, 32, pled guilty today to methamphetamine trafficking offenses under a plea agreement that recommends a sentence within the range of 12 to 15 years in federal prison. 
 
Ramirez and his co-defendants, Jonathan Griego, 28, and Richard Porras, 31, were arrested in Aug. 2016, on separate criminal complaints charging them with drug trafficking and firearms offenses.  The three subsequently were jointly charged in a nine-count indictment filed on Aug. 9, 2016, with conspiracy and possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  The indictment 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 possessing 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.  On Jan, 25, 2017, Ramirez pled guilty to carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.  In entering the guilty plea, Ramirez admitted that on Aug. 4, 2016, he carried and used a loaded firearm while distributing methamphetamine and heroin. 
 
Ulibarri was indicted on July 28, 2016, and was charged with distributing methamphetamine on July 11, 2016.  The indictment subsequently was superseded on Aug. 9, 2016, to add Leo Lopez, 28, Joseph Sena, 40, and Jennifer Padilla, 39.  The superseding indictment charged Ulibarri and Padilla with participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in July 2016; Lopez, Sena and Padilla with participating in a different conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in July 2016; Ulibarri with distributing methamphetamine on July 11, 2016; and Sena with distributing methamphetamine on July 26, 2016.  According to the indictment, the defendants committed the crimes in Bernalillo County. On Aug. 22, 2017, Ulibarri pled guilty to one count of distributing methamphetamine and admitted that on July 11, 2016, he distributed more than 50 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
 
Bright and co-defendant Jesse James Davis, 40, were indicted on June 30, 2016, and were charged with conspiracy and distributing methamphetamine on June 6, 2016.  Bright also was charged with distributing methamphetamine on June 14, 2016.  During today’s proceedings, Bright pled guilty to conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine.  In entering the guilty plea, Bright admitted that on June 6, 2016, he sold four bags of methamphetamine weighing approximately 115 grams to an undercover law enforcement agent.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
 
Twenty-six of the defendants who were 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.   One defendant is a fugitive and the charges against two defendants have been dismissed.
 
These cases were investigated by the Albuquerque office of ATF.  Ramirez was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.  Ulibarri is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Han, and Bright is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo R. Armijo.
 
# # #
Field Division: Phoenix Field Division