Legal Permanent Resident from El Salvador Sentenced to Fifteen Years for Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking Conviction
ALBUQUERQUE – Jose Remberto Guzman-Dominguez, 34, a legal permanent resident from El Salvador who resided in Las Vegas, Nev., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., for his conviction on cocaine and heroin trafficking charges. Guzman-Dominguez was sentenced to 180 months of imprisonment and will be deported after completing his prison sentence.
Guzman-Dominguez and co-defendant Miguel Angel Rodriguez-Flores, 47, of Hawthorne, Calif., were arrested on Nov. 14, 2015, and were charged by criminal complaint after officers of the New Mexico Motor Transportation Police found approximately 117.15 pounds (53.14 kilograms) of narcotics in their commercial tractor-trailer during a routine inspection at the port of entry on Interstate 10 near Lordsburg, N.M. The two men subsequently were indicted on Feb. 17, 2016, on charges that they conspired to distribute cocaine and heroin and possessed cocaine and heroin with intent to distribute. According to the indictment, defendants committed the three offenses in Hidalgo County, N.M., on the evening of Nov. 13, 2014 and the early morning of Nov. 14, 2015.
Trial of Guzman-Dominguez and Rodriguez-Flores on the three-count indictment began July 11, 2016, and concluded on July 15, 2016, when the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all three counts. The evidence at trial established that late on Nov. 13, 2015 and into the early hours of Nov. 14, 2015, the defendants were traveling in a commercial tractor-trailer from Phoenix, Ariz., to Lordsburg. When they entered the port of entry on Interstate 10 in Hidalgo County, the New Mexico Motor Transportation Police stopped their commercial tractor-trailer to conduct a safety inspection. After identifying several safety violations, the inspector continued with a cargo inspection and found that the trailer was fully loaded with large containers of industrial cleaning solution. While inspecting the cargo, the inspector found four cardboard boxes that were different from the industrial cleaning solution containers. One of the boxes was open and contained several cellophane wrapped bundles. The officers opened one of the cellophane bundles and found that it contained white powder that tested positive for cocaine. The four boxes contained 51 bundles with a gross weight of 53.14 kilograms. Laboratory tests later performed on the contents of the 51 bundles determined that 46 of the packages contained an aggregate of 105.6 pounds (47.9 kilograms) of cocaine and five packages contained an aggregate of 11.55 pounds (5.24 kilograms) of heroin.
Rodriguez-Flores was sentenced on March 15, 2017, to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
The Border Enforcement Security Taskforce of the Las Cruces office of Homeland Security Investigations, New Mexico State Police, and New Mexico Motor Transportation Police investigated this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brock Taylor and Richard Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative was launched in January 2015 by the UNM Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in response to the national opioid epidemic, which has had a disproportionately devastating impact on New Mexico. Opioid addiction has taken a toll on public safety, public health and the economic viability of our communities. Working in partnership with the DEA, the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC), the Albuquerque Public Schools and other community stakeholders, HOPE’s principal goals are to protect our communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioid painkillers and reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in New Mexico.
The HOPE Initiative is comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. HOPE’s law enforcement component is led by the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA in conjunction with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners. Targeting members of major heroin and opioid trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative. Learn more about the New Mexico HOPE Initiative at http://www.HopeInitiativeNM.org.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of New Mexico