Published: 3:00 pm, Thu. Aug. 20th, 2015
ALBUQUERQUE — Joe Anthony Reza, 33, of Artesia, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Las Cruces to violating federal firearms and drug trafficking laws.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Reza will be sentenced to 120 months in prison, followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Reza was arrested June 6 on a criminal complaint charging him with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on Feb. 24 in Eddy County. According to the complaint, agents with the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at Reza’s residence Feb. 24 and seized approximately 117.93 grams of methamphetamine, three firearms, a marijuana plant, and digital scales. At the time, Reza was arrested on state charges, which were later dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Reza pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him with possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In entering his guilty plea, Reza admitted that on Feb. 24, law enforcement officers seized 117 grams of methamphetamine and a handgun from his residence.
Reza further admitted that he possessed the handgun for protection of his drug trafficking activities.
Reza remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces Office of the DEA and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force with assistance from the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock Taylor of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.
The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Artesia Police Department and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force.