. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Robert Ponce

The Artesia man wanted on federal charges as a result of a recent multi-agency investigation into drug and firearm trafficking in Eddy County has been arrested.

Robert C. Ponce, 42, of Artesia, was taken into custody Tuesday morning on charges of trafficking controlled substances with intent to distribute (narcotics or meth) (first offense); possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon; receiving stolen property (firearm); and possession, delivery or manufacture of drug paraphernalia.

The investigation, which was initiated by the DEA, ATF and HIDTA Region VI Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, initially targeted a methamphetamine trafficking organization that was allegedly supplied by Daniel P. Bruton, 38, of Artesia, and Marcos A. Martinez, 30, of Roswell.

Ponce was one of 15 individuals charged with federal offenses as a result of the investigation. Two others, Erick Miranda-Santos, 21, of Carlsbad, and Chelcy Vasquez, 25, of Dexter, remain at large. Anyone with information as to their whereabouts is urged to contact the DEA at 575-526-0700.

In addition, 33 individuals were levied state charges as a result of the investigation, with 19 remaining at large. Information on those suspects can be found here.