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Man charged in drug ring linked to Juarez cartel territory pleads guilty

October 21, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Man charged in drug ring linked to Juarez cartel territory pleads guilty

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On Wednesday, a New Mexico man pleaded guilty in federal court to drug trafficking and conspiracy charges as part of an indictment unsealed in 2015, which landed 41 people behind bars for their roles in a cocaine and meth ring in an area reportedly regulated by the Juarez Cartel.

Joseph Ray Mendiola, 35. pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine, Breitbart Texas reported.

Mendiola was one of 41 co-conspirators who faced state and federal charges as the head of the drug trafficking organization operating in New Mexico.

A 2015 Drug Enforcement Agency Report on Areas of Influence of Major Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations indicates New Mexico and far west Texas remains under the control of the Juarez cartel.

He was apprehended in 2015 after a 24-count indictment was issued.

In the plea agreement, Mendiola confessed to holding about seven pounds of meth with the intention of distributing the drugs.

He also revealed that he had obtained the drug in Arizona for distribution purposes. He further admitted that he conspired with other to distribute the methamphetamine and that he used a phone in furtherance of the offense.

As a result of his guilty plea, Mendiola faces between 10 years to life behind bars. Moreover, he also faces a fine of up $10,000,000, along with four years added to his sentence, and an additional fine of up to $500,000, for using a telephone in the commission of the conspiracy.

Of the 41 members of the operation, all but one have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing hearings. The remaining co-conspirator has pleaded not guilty.

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