Description: Albuquerque, NM - Two More Sentenced and Four More Plead Guilty to Charges Arising Out of ATF-Led Operation Targeting Drug Trafficking and Firearms Crime in Bernalillo County - Defendants Part of 104 Individuals Federally Charged as the Result of ATF-Led Investigation Pursued in Support of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
In Aug. 2016, a multi-agency investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) concluded with the filing of 59 federal indictments and a federal criminal complaint charging 104 Bernalillo County residents with federal firearms and narcotics trafficking offenses. To date, 65 of the 104 defendants charged as the result of this investigation have entered guilty pleas and 29 of them have been sentenced.
The following Albuquerque residents recently entered guilty pleas in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M.:
Brandon Jason Hunt, 27, pled guilty to cocaine trafficking charges on July 6, 2017. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Hunt will be sentenced to a year and a day in prison. However, if the court determines that Hunt is a career offender, he will be sentenced to 96 months in prison.
Margarito Ruiz, 36, pled guilty to methamphetamine trafficking charges on July 6, 2017.
Cody Jones, 32, and Dustin Swint, 30, each pled guilty to methamphetamine trafficking charges on July 13, 2017.
In addition, the following two Albuquerque residents were sentenced:
Mikai Cropsey, 42, was sentenced on July 11, 2017, to 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction.
Adrian D. Hammond, 30, was sentenced on July 13, 2017, to 36 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
These six defendants were amongst the 104 who were charged as the result of the investigation that began in mid-April 2016, when ATF personnel from throughout the country joined forces with federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies in New Mexico to combat the high rate of violent crime in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The investigators utilized a number of investigative techniques, including undercover operations, historical investigation and targeting of multi-convicted felons in possession of firearms.
The investigation was undertaken in support of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies collaborate with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution primarily based on their prior criminal convictions with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
Hunt was arrested in Oct. 2016, on an indictment charging him with distributing cocaine on May 5, 2016, and June 1, 2016, and being a felon in possession of a firearm on May 19, 2016. Hunt was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and attempt to commit an aggravated burglary. According to the indictment, Hunt committed the offenses in Rio Arriba County, N.M. On July 6, 2017, Hunt pled guilty to distributing cocaine and admitted that on May 5, 2016, he distributed cocaine to an undercover law enforcement agent. A sentencing hearing is currently scheduled for Oct. 5, 2017.
Hunt was arrested in Jan. 2017, on an indictment charging him with distributing methamphetamine on May 23, 2016, and being a felon in possession of a firearm on May 25, 2016. was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance and shoplifting. According to the indictment, committed the offenses in Bernalillo County, N.M. On July 6, 2017, pled guilty to a methamphetamine trafficking charge, and admitted that on May 23, 2016, he distributed approximately two ounces of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent. At sentencing, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
Jones and Swint were arrested in Aug. 2016, on an indictment charging the two men with participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy and distributing methamphetamine on May 16 and 17, 2016. The indictment also charged Jones alone with distributing methamphetamine on June 6, 2016, June 7, 2016, and June 15, 2016. According to the indictment, Jones and Swint committed the crimes in Bernalillo County. On July 13, 2017, Jones and Swint each pled guilty to methamphetamine trafficking charges and admitted that on May 17, 2016, they conspired to distribute approximately two ounces of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent. At sentencing, Jones and Swint each face a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. Sentencing hearings have yet to be scheduled.
Cropsey and his codefendant Bernadette Aurora Tapia, 49, also of Albuquerque, were arrested in Aug. 2016, on an indictment charging them with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine on June 14, 2016, in Bernalillo County. On Dec. 22, 2016, Cropsey pled guilty to conspiracy and admitted that on June 14, 2016, he agreed with another person to sell methamphetamine to a person Cropsey believed was a drug customer.
Hammond was charged in a criminal complaint on June 27, 2016, with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition on June 26, 2016, in Bernalillo County. Hammond was subsequently indicted on the same charge on July 12, 2016. According to the indictment, Hammond was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for theft by taking, obstruction of law enforcement officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, false imprisonment and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. On April 12, 2017, Hammond pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition on June 26, 2016, because of his status as a convicted felon.
The remaining defendants have entered not guilty pleas. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
These cases were investigated by the Albuquerque office of ATF.