Mexican national sentenced for meth trafficking
Man cited as a leader of group responsible for most meth in county
- Quiroa-Valdez was sentenced to five years in prison and will be deported at the end of the his sentence.
- Another member of the organization, Miguel Rangel-Arce, was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier this week.
- The investigation was initiated in response to an increase in meth trafficking in the Shiprock area.
FARMINGTON — A second Mexican national involved in a methamphetamine-trafficking operation was sentenced to federal prison this week.
Rogelio Santiago Quiroa-Valdez, 25, was sentenced Thursday in Albuquerque federal court to five years in prison, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.
He will be deported at the end of his prison sentence.
A two-year, multi-agency investigation led to the arrest of Quiroa-Valdez and seven other men for trafficking meth on the Navajo Nation and San Juan County.
The Region II Narcotics Task Force, which includes San Juan County law enforcement officers, worked in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations agents to make the arrests and serve search warrants at residences in Shiprock and Kirtland, according to the press release.
Police told The Daily Times that Quiroa-Valdez was one of the ringleaders of a drug-trafficking organization that distributed 60 to 70 percent of the meth in the county, along with Miguel Rangel-Arce and Luis Rangel-Arce. The three men are Mexican nationals who were arrested in May and indicted on seven counts of trafficking meth.
They pleaded guilty on Aug. 30 to the charges of participating in meth trafficking and distributing meth on six occasions, according to the press release.
Quiroa-Valdez admitted that he distributed 85.5 grams of meth to an undercover officer during the plea hearing, according to the press release.
Miguel Rangel-Arce was sentenced to 10 years in prison and will be deported after serving his prison sentence.
Luis Rangel-Arce received a sentence of seven years and three months in federal prison on Jan. 17 and will be deported at the end of his sentence.
The investigation was launched after an increase in meth was observed in the Shiprock area and the area was included in a U.S. Department of Justice program called the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, according to the press release.
More than 2.5 pounds of meth, about $1,600 in cash, 10 firearms and a vehicle were seized during the investigation.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.