Published: 1:00 pm, Thu. Jul. 21st, 2016Updated: 2:12 pm
A federal jury sitting in Las Cruces returned a guilty verdict Wednesday for Javier Amador-Flores, 49, on a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy charge.
U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey D. Self of the U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector, and Commander Byron Wester of the Lea County Drug Task Force, announced the verdict following a three-day trial.
Amador-Flores, a permanent resident from Mexico who lived in Denver City, Texas, was arrested July 29, 2015, on an indictment charging him and four co-defendants, three of whom are Mexican nationals, with participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Lea County from May 1-6, 2015.
Three of Amador-Flores’ co-defendants – Joel Dominguez-Morales, 41, Maria Marcelina Cardoza-Burciaga, 40, and Myrna Orozco, 32, a U.S. citizen – were also arrested. The fourth co-defendant, Jose Manuel Trujillo, 41, has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
Dominguez-Morales, Cardoza-Burciaga and Orozco pleaded guilty to participating in the methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy. Amador-Flores elected to proceed to trial.
Amador-Flores’ trial began July 18 and concluded Wednesday afternoon when the jury returned a verdict of guilty on the sole-count indictment. The evidence at trial established
Amador-Flores participated in the meth trafficking conspiracy by receiving and storing shipments of meth at a residence he shared with Orozco in Denver City. Other members of the conspiracy distributed the meth in Lea County.
According to trial testimony, on May 1, 2015, an undercover agent arranged to purchase meth from Trujillo. On May 6, 2015, Trujillo informed the undercover agent that Dominguez-Morales would be delivering the meth to the agent. Thereafter, Dominguez-Morales met with the undercover agent at a restaurant in Hobbs and directed the agent to meet him at an abandoned bar in a rural area outside of Hobbs, where a woman would deliver the meth. Later that day, law enforcement officers arrested Dominguez-Morales and Cardoza-Burciaga near the abandoned bar and seized nearly four kilograms of meth.
As part of their continuing investigation, on May 6, 2015, the officers executed a consensual search at the residence shared by Amador-Flores and Orozco, where they seized additional meth.
The jury returned a guilty verdict after deliberating approximately two-and-a-half hours.
Amador-Flores remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, he faces a statutory mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison. He will be deported after completing his prison sentence.
His co-defendants, Dominguez-Morales, Cardoza-Burciaga and Orozco, each face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Dominguez-Morales and Cardoza-Burciaga will be deported after serving their prison sentences.
The case was investigated by the Las Cruces Office of Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Lea County Drug Task Force, with assistance from the Yoakum County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brock Taylor and Matthew Beck of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case.