Wednesday, August 3, 2016
ALBUQUERQUE – Joseph Vallejos, 23, of Roswell, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to methamphetamine trafficking charges.
Vallejos and co-defendant Renee Rodriguez, 32, also of Roswell, were charged in a criminal complaint filed in Sept. 2015, with conspiracy, distribution of methamphetamine, and firearms offenses in Chaves County, N.M. According to the criminal complaint, Vallejos and Rodriguez sold an aggregate of 157.7 grams of methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement officers during nine separate transactions between July 2015 and Sept. 2015. The complaint further charged Rodriguez with brandishing a handgun during a methamphetamine transaction on July 8, 2015, and Vallejos with brandishing a handgun during a methamphetamine transaction on Sept. 16, 2015.
Vallejos and Rodriguez subsequently were charged in a nine-count indictment that was filed on Dec. 17, 2015. The indictment charged Vallejos and Rodriguez with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine from July 1, 2015 through July 30, 2015. It also charged Rodriguez with distributing methamphetamine on three occasions in July 2015, and Vallejos and Rodriguez with distributing methamphetamine on four occasions in July 2015. Rodriguez also was charged with brandishing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime on July 8, 2015. According to the indictment, Vallejos and Rodriguez committed the nine crimes in Chaves County.
During today’s proceedings, Vallejos pled guilty to a conspiracy charge and four methamphetamine distribution charges. At sentencing, Vallejos faces a statutory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison followed by not less than four years of supervised release. Vallejos also will be ordered to pay $750.00 in restitution to the United States, which represents the proceeds he derived from the drug trafficking offenses to which he pleaded guilty. Vallejos remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Rodriguez has entered a not guilty plea to the complaint and indictment. She remains detained pending trial, which is currently scheduled to begin on Aug. 15, 2016. Charges in criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the New Mexico State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy M. Castellano of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.