Nine convicted, sentenced in drug trafficking ring
March 21, 2018 11:42 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – 461 grams of marijuana, 300 grams of heroin and more than $60,000 in cash: that’s what officers found when they raided the home of a Taos County man who was just sentenced for leading a drug trafficking ring.
A multi-agency investigation led to the arrest and conviction of 41-year-old Ivan Romero. Investigators say he and his brother, Ricco Romero, 28, were the leaders of the ring.
Ivan was sentenced to 130 months in prison with five years of supervised release. His brother Ricco was sentenced to 120 months and five years of supervised release. Each will have to pay a fine of nearly $450,000 in cash and an additional $15,000 in community restitution.
Seven additional defendants were named alongside the Romero brothers in an indictment filed back in Feb. 2016 charging them with conspiring to distribute heroin and methamphetamine from at least June 2012 through Dec. 2015.
Ivan and Ricco Romero both entered guilty pleas and admitted to trafficking heroin and laundering money. Ricco Romero also admitted to having guns to further his trafficking activities.
According to officers, the Romero brothers were responsible for buying heroin from dealers in Albuquerque and Los Lunas, with other members of the ring acting as couriers of the drugs.
Ivan and Ricco Romero’s seven co-defendants have all entered guilty pleas. Below is a breakdown of their convictions and sentences that followed:
- Nicholas Baca, 31, of Cerro, N.M., pled guilty in Feb. 2017, to participating in a heroin trafficking conspiracy, and was sentenced on June 14, 2017, to time served followed by five years of supervised release
- Juanita Romero, 36, of Chamisa, N.M., pled guilty in Feb. 2017, to participating in a heroin trafficking conspiracy, and was sentenced on June 14, 2017, to time served followed by five years of supervised release
- Melissa Romero pled guilty in Dec. 2016, to participating in the money laundering conspiracy, and was sentenced on June 14, 2017, to three years of probation
- Elena Carabajal pled guilty in Jan. 2017, to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and was sentenced on June 13, 2017, to a year and a day in prison followed by five years of supervised release
- Wilma Romero, pled guilty in Jan. 2017, to participating in the money laundering conspiracy and possessing heroin with intent to distribute, and was sentenced on Nov. 9, 2017, to 24 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.
- Tyler Baker, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty in Oct. 2016 to participating in the heroin trafficking conspiracy
- Jason Duran. 43, of Albuquerque, pled guilty in Dec. 2017, to participating in the heroin trafficking conspiracy. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Duran will be sentenced to a maximum of 100 months in federal prison
The investigation that led to the arrest and conviction of all nine people involved was conducted by the Albuquerque office of the DEA, the HIDTA Region III Drug Task Force, New Mexico State Police, Taos Police Department, Taos County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The case was prosecuted as a part of the New Mexico HOPE Initiative which stands for Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education. The initiative was launched back in Jan. 2015 by UNM’s Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the hope of protecting communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioids.
Learn more about the initiative by clicking here.
Updated: March 21, 2018 11:42 AM
Created: March 21, 2018 11:35 AM
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