Mexican national sentenced in federal meth case
Miguel Rangel-Arce was one of eight men arrested for allegedly trafficking meth in northwest New Mexico and on the Navajo Nation
FARMINGTON — A Mexican national who pleaded guilty to federal methamphetamine trafficking charges last year has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Miguel Rangel-Arce, 36, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Albuquerque. He pleaded guilty to a meth trafficking charge on Aug. 30, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release. He will be deported at the end of his prison sentence.
Rangel-Arce was one of eight men arrested last year on federal charges in connection to trafficking meth in northwest New Mexico and on the Navajo Nation. The arrests came after a two-year, multi-agency investigation. Police told The Daily Times that the drug trafficking organization was responsible for 60 to 70 percent of the meth distributed in San Juan County.
The men were arrested by the Region II Narcotics Task Force, which includes law enforcement officers from San Juan County and agents with Homeland Security Investigations.
Three of the men — Miguel Rangel-Arce, Rogelio Santiago Quiroa-Valdez and Luis Rangel-Arce — are Mexican nationals.
In a seven-count indictment filed in April, they were charged with participating in meth trafficking between November 2015 and March 2016 and with distributing meth on six occasions between January and March 2016 in San Juan County, according to the press release.
During the investigation, authorities seized more than two and a half pounds of meth, $1,600 in cash, 10 firearms and a vehicle, the press release states.
When Miguel Rangel-Arce pleaded guilty on Aug. 30, he admitted to conspiring to distribute between 500 grams and 1.5 kilograms of meth to an undercover officer between Nov. 24, 2015, and March 17, 2016, according to the press release.
Luis Rangel-Arce pleaded guilty on Aug. 16 to distributing meth on two occasions to an undercover officer in January 2016, according to the press release. He was sentenced on Jan. 17 to seven years and three months in federal prison and will be deported at the end of his sentence.
Quiroa-Valdez also pleaded guilty on Aug. 30 and admitted to distributing 85.5 grams of meth to an undercover officer on Feb. 24, 2016, according to the press release.
His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.