FARMINGTON — An anti-narcotics agency early Friday morning arrested three Mexican nationals in Farmington on suspicion of trafficking methamphetamines.
Region II Narcotics Task Force Agents started investigating the men in summer 2013 when the agency learned the men were part of a "violent" drug trafficking organization rooted in southern Arizona, according to a Region II news release.
Jesus Pena-Navarette, 27, Juan Alvarez-Salazar, 33, and Heber Valdez, 25, were taken into custody, and each man was charged with two counts of trafficking.
One of the suspects was arrested at the Motel 6, 1600 Bloomfield Blvd., and Farmington police arrested the other two men in their car on Scott Avenue, said Lt. Neil Haws, the director of Region II.
During the arrest, police confiscated nearly one pound of methamphetamine, three-quarters of a pound of heroin, $2,830 and a 2004 Audi.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents placed a hold on all three men. An ICE hold means the federal agency plans to take custody of the men once they are released from a law enforcement agency's custody.
Alvarez-Salazar had overstayed his visa, and Pena-Navarette and Valdez have each twice been deported from the U.S. to Mexico, according to Region II.
Friday's arrest was the second meth trafficking arrest Region II agents made this week. Casey Stallings, 29, was arrested Monday after a four-month investigation into his criminal network. Police found 1.7 pounds of meth in Stallings' home and said he was one of the biggest meth dealers in San Juan County.
Haws said the two cases are not connected.
"It was a good week for us," Haws said. "Both (cases) were pretty big and significant."Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.