Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Mexican National Arraigned on Federal Firearms and Drug Trafficking Charges in New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Moises Jimenez-Salas, 37, a Mexican national illegally in the United States who previously has been deported to Mexico three times, was arraigned this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on an indictment charging him with violating the federal firearms and narcotics trafficking laws. During this morning’s proceedings, Jimenez-Salas entered a not guilty plea to the indictment. He remains in federal custody pending trial.
Jimenez-Salas was arrested on May 12, 2016, and charged in a criminal complaint with possession of methamphetamine and heroin and using and carrying a firearm and ammunition in relation to a drug trafficking crime. Court records reflect that on May 11, 2016, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) detectives responded to a motel located at Coors Blvd. NW and Interstate 40 in Albuquerque after receiving information regarding drug activity at the motel. At the motel, the detectives allegedly observed Jimenez-Salas carrying a cardboard box allegedly containing 463 grams of methamphetamine and 16 grams of heroin. During a search incident to arrest, the detectives allegedly found another bag in Jimenez-Salas’ pocket which allegedly contained 21 grams of methamphetamine. They also allegedly found a firearm and ammunition on Jimenez-Salas’ waistband.
Jimenez-Salas was subsequently charged in a four-count indictment on May 25, 2016. The indictment charges Jimenez-Salas with being an alien illegally in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of heroin and methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and using and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. The indictment alleges that Jimenez-Salas committed the crimes on May 11, 2016, in Bernalillo County, N.M.
If convicted of the illegal alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge, Jimenez-Salas faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. If convicted of the methamphetamine trafficking charge, Jimenez-Salas faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. If convicted of the heroin trafficking charge, Jimenez-Salas faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. If convicted of the possession of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime charge, Jimenez faces mandatory sentence of five years in prison that must be served consecutive to any other sentence imposed. Charges in complaints and indictments are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and BCSO and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo R. Armijo.
This case is being prosecuted under 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 work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible. Because New Mexico’s violent crime rate, on a per capita basis, is one of the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo County, N.M., under this initiative.