ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Seven of eight alleged methamphetamine traffickers on the Navajo Indian Reservation in northwestern New Mexico were arrested this week as part of a multi-agency investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the HIDTA Region II Narcotics Task Force. One of the eight indicted as part of this investigation is still at large.
These cases were investigated by HSI Albuquerque and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Region II Narcotics Task Force with assistance from the following agencies: FBI’s Farmington (New Mexico) office, U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Division of Drug Enforcement, Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, New Mexico State Police, San Juan County (New Mexico) Sheriff’s Office, Farmington Police Department, and the New Mexico National Guard.
Six of the defendants were arrested Wednesday during a law enforcement operation that included the execution of two search warrants at residences in Shiprock and Kirtland, New Mexico. The seventh defendant was arrested Thursday in Kingman, Arizona, by the Kingman police officers.
The investigation leading to the federal charges was initiated in response to an increase in methamphetamine trafficking on the Navajo Indian Reservation in the Shiprock area. The investigation identified eight defendants, who are charged in five indictments, through a series of methamphetamine purchases by undercover law enforcement officers. On Wednesday, law enforcement authorities seized more than 2 ½ pounds of methamphetamine, 10 firearms, about $1,600 in cash and a vehicle.
The investigation was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a Department of Justice program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations. READ MORE OF THIS STORY