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Paul Sanchez

A recent drug trafficking investigation by the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force has resulted in multiple arrests of Carlsbad residents.

Among those charged are Kenneth “Kenny” Sanchez, Joseph Hernandez, Shessa Kirby Sanchez, Paul Sanchez, Jeanette Elizondo, and Kenneth Armendariz.

PVDTF Chairman Sheriff Mark Cage reports the charges stem from a six-month, complex and intensive investigation into a drug trafficking organization involved in moving methamphetamine and heroin from Texas to Carlsbad. During the investigation, PVDTF agents allege that on several occasions, members of the organization trafficked large amounts of narcotics utilizing a distribution network responsible for operating primarily in Carlsbad.

Individuals in this group include family members who allegedly conspired with one another to traffic the narcotics. Kenny Sanchez, 53, and Hernandez, 41, have been federally indicted and arrested for their roles in trafficking illegal narcotics. A joint investigation by the PVDTF and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) led to those indictments.

Kenneth Armendariz

Kirby Sanchez, 26, was arrested Sept. 9 in Carlsbad and faces New Mexico state charges for possession of heroin with the intent to traffic and possession of methamphetamine with intent to traffic. She was initially contacted by law enforcement during an investigation whereby she was found in possession of trafficking amounts of heroin and meth. The drugs were packaged for resale, some of which Kirby Sanchez attempted to conceal on her person.

Armendariz, 33, was arrested Sept. 25 and also faces New Mexico state charges for two counts of trafficking meth in Eddy County. Armendariz is alleged to have sold meth on more than one occasion. PVDTF agents were also able to confirm a link in furtherance of drug trafficking activity between Armendariz and other members of the organization.

Elizondo, 45, was arrested on Sept. 26 for trafficking heroin and meth at her home in Carlsbad. She was investigated after numerous complaints were received about drug activity occurring at her home near the 1400 block of Alvarado in Carlsbad. On Aug. 10, PVDTF agents contacted Elizondo at her home and seized trafficking amounts of heroin and meth, scales, paraphernalia and U.S. currency. Agents also discovered a link with Elizondo being a part of the same drug trafficking organization. She is facing state charges for trafficking the narcotics.

Shessa Kirby Sanchez

During a separate investigation by the Carlsbad Police Department Patrol Division, Paul Sanchez, 55, was also charged for possession of meth. Paul Sanchez was charged April 24 after being contacted by Carlsbad police during a traffic stop whereby he initially attempted to conceal his identity.

The CPD officer knew Sanchez was wanted on an arrest warrant. During the arrest and investigation, he was found to be in possession of two separate baggies of meth, which he attempted to conceal from the officer.

Many members of the Carlsbad community provided information about the trafficking group, according to Cage.

“They are to be commended for assisting law enforcement by providing information that helped bring this to a successful conclusion,” he said. “This investigation is one of many being conducted into drug trafficking organizations in and around Carlsbad, Artesia and Eddy County. The communities and law enforcement are paying attention. If you are conducting illegal activity, we will eventually catch up with you and ensure you are brought to justice.

Jeanette Elizondo

“This is a message from members of the public and law enforcement that we will not tolerate this type of activity in our communities and that we will take measures to protect our way of life here in Eddy County. If you’re dealing drugs here, we’re coming for you.”

This case is being investigated by the PVDTF and the Las Cruces Office of the DEA, with assistance from the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office and the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

The PVDTF is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Bureau of Land Management, and is part of the Region VI Drug Task Force.

Anyone wishing to provide additional information regarding this investigation or any other drug activity is urged to contact PVDTF Cmdr. L. Leos at 575-887-5194.