DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Friday, June 30, 2017
James D. Tierney
, United States Attorney
Contact: Elizabeth M. Martinez

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

Defendants Part 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 – 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 104 Bernalillo County residents with federal firearms and narcotics trafficking offenses.  To date, 61 of the 104 defendants charged as the result of this investigation have entered guilty pleas and 26 of them have been sentenced.  The following seven defendants were sentenced in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., this week: 
 
  • Maria Citlaly Beltran-Ahumada, 37, a Mexican national illegally residing in Albuquerque was sentenced on June 26, 2017, on an illegal reentry charge to a term of time-served and is pending deportation;
  • Julian Brown, 22, was sentenced on June 27, 2017, to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for possessing an unregistered firearm;
  • Francisco Garcia, 20, was sentenced on June 27, 2017, to 60 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime;
  • Inkosi Grandberry, 35, was sentenced on June 28, 2017, to 60 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime;
  • Angelica Marie Santiesteban, 40, was sentenced on June 28, 2017, to 63 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for distributing methamphetamine;
  • Johnny Flores, 23, was sentenced on June 28, 2017, to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for distributing methamphetamine; and
  • Manuel Boydston, 36, was sentenced yesterday to 60 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for distributing methamphetamine.
In addition, Keith Thompson, 48, pled guilty yesterday and his co-defendant Matthew Sandoval, 38, pled guilty today to heroin trafficking charges.  Thompson’s plea agreement recommends a sentence of 70 months in prison, and Sandoval’s plea agreement recommends a maximum sentence of 84 months in prison.
 
These nine defendants were amongst the 104 who were charged as the result of the investigation that 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.
           
Beltran-Ahumada’s co-defendants Guajira Maya Lovato, 44, Janet Bowman, 40, Anthony Barela, 34, and Juan Jose Rivas, 32, were charged by indictment on July 28, 2016, with distributing methamphetamine.  The indictment was superseded on Aug. 9, 2016, to add Beltran-Ahumada as a defendant and an additional conspiracy charge.  The superseding indictment charged the five defendants with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine from June 21, 2016 through Aug. 9, 2016, and distributing methamphetamine on June 22, 2016.  Beltran-Ahumada pled guilty on June 9, 2017, to an information charging her with illegal reentry of a removed alien, and admitted that she was found to be illegally in Bernalillo County on Aug. 9, 2016, after being deported from the United States on Nov. 8, 2003.
           
Brown was arrested on Aug. 10, 2016, on an indictment charging him with distributing heroin and possessing a firearm not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR).  According to the indictment, Brown committed the offenses on July 11, 2016, in Bernalillo County.  On Feb. 1, 2017, Brown pled guilty to Count 2 of the indictment charging him with possessing an unregistered firearm.  In entering the guilty plea, Brown admitted that on July 11, 2016, he possessed and sold a weapon made from a shotgun not registered to him in the NFRTR.  
 
Garcia was arrested on July 8, 2016, and was charged by indictment with firearms and drug trafficking offenses.  The indictment was subsequently superseded on July 28, 2016, and charged Garcia with distributing methamphetamine on May 10, 2016 and May 12, 2016, and using and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.  On Jan. 6, 2017, Garcia pled guilty to using and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and admitted that on May 12, 2016, he possessed a firearm during the sale of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent.  Garcia further admitted carrying the firearm for protection and to assist him in his drug trafficking crimes.
 
Grandberry was arrested on July 6, 2016, on a six-count indictment charging him with distributing heroin on April 28, 2016 and April 29, 2016; being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition on April 28, 2016, May 4, 2016 and May 12, 2016; and possessing a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime on April 28, 2016.  According to the indictment, Grandberry was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of a previous felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance.  On Nov. 2, 2016, Grandberry pled guilty to Count 3 of the indictment charging him with possessing and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and admitted that on April 28, 2016, he was in possession of a pistol loaded with ammunition while conducting a heroin transaction.
 
Santiesteban and co-defendant Noe Urias, 36, 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 add Patrick Zamora, 22, and another methamphetamine trafficking charge.  The superseding indictment charged the three defendants with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from May 2, 2016 through June 20, 2016, and distributing methamphetamine on June 20, 2016; Urias and Santiesteban with distributing methamphetamine on May 2, 2016 and May 19, 2016; and Urias with distributing methamphetamine on May 18, 2016.  According to the superseding indictment, the defendants committed offenses in Bernalillo County.  On Dec. 8, 2016, Santiesteban pled guilty to Count 5 of the superseding indictment charging her with distributing methamphetamine and admitted that on June 20, 2016, she sold approximately 116.8 grams of methamphetamine in exchange for money. 
 
Flores and his co-defendant Josue Duarte, 31, were charged in a four-count indictment filed on Aug. 9, 2016, with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from July 18, 2016 through July 26, 2016, and distribution of methamphetamine on July 22, 2016; Flores with distribution of methamphetamine on July 18, 2016; and Duarte with distribution of methamphetamine on July 26, 2016.  On Dec. 6, 2016, Flores pled guilty a felony information charging him with distributing methamphetamine, and admitted that on July 18, 2016, he acted as a medium to facilitate a methamphetamine transaction in exchange for money.
 
Boydston and his co-defendant Thomas Montoya, 40, were charged in a three-count indictment filed on June 30, 2016.  The indictment charged Montoya with distribution of methamphetamine on June 6, 2016, and Montoya and Boydston with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine on June 14, 2016.  On Feb. 6, 2017, Boydston pled guilty to Count 3 of the indictment charging him with distributing methamphetamine, and admitted that on June 14, 2016, he sold approximately 118 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent.
           
Thompson and Sandoval were arrested in July 2016, and charged in a two-count indictment with distributing heroin on May 9, 2016, and distributing methamphetamine on May 19, 2016.  Thompson entered a guilty plea yesterday and Sandoval entered a guilty plea today to heroin trafficking charges.  In entering their guilty pleas, Thompson and Sandoval both admitted that on May 9, 2016, they sold heroin to another individual.  They remain in custody pending sentencing hearings, which have yet to be scheduled.
 
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.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Presiliano Torrez is prosecuting the cases against Beltran-Ahumada and Boydston;  Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Han prosecuted the cases against Brown and Santiesteban;  Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo R. Armijo prosecuted the case against Garcia; Assistant U.S. Attorneys David M. Walsh and Norman Cairns prosecuted the case against Grandberry; and   Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers prosecuted the case against Flores.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado is prosecuting the case against Thompson and Sandoval.
 
###
Field Division: Phoenix Field Division