LAMB COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Arnoldo Mendoza Lepez, 45, of Littlefield, Texas, was sentenced this morning before Senior U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to 405 months, nearly 34 years, in federal prison following his guilty plea to his role in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
A co-defendant, Joseph Raymond Jaramillo, Jr., 30, also of Littlefield, Texas, was sentenced last week to 365 months, just over 30 years, in federal prison following his guilty plea to his role in the same conspiracy.
Both Lepez and Jaramillo pleaded guilty in July 2017 to one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Both have been in custody since the time of their arrest in May 2017.
Co-defendant Zahir Rivera-Pineda, 27, pleaded guilty in June 2017 to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 60 months in prison in September of this year.
According to plea documents filed in the case, on May 5, 2017, New Mexico State Police stopped a vehicle being driven by Rivera-Pineda that was found to contain approximately 20 pounds of suspected methamphetamine near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were able to determine that the methamphetamine was destined for a specific residence located in Littlefield, Texas. HSI agents coordinated with agents from the Lubbock County, Texas Sheriff's Office (LCSO) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to complete the delivery of the methamphetamine to the residence in an attempt to identify the individuals receiving the narcotics.
Shortly after the methamphetamine was delivered to the residence in Littlefield, agents executed a search warrant. Inside the residence, agents located Jaramillo, Jr. and Lepez. Inside the room with Jaramillo and Lepez, agents located in plain-view several of the bundles containing the methamphetamine that had just been delivered to the house. The remainder of the bundles were located inside a hidden compartment located in the closet of the same room. Agents found two firearms in the room with the defendants as well as several other firearms throughout the residence.
The methamphetamine located in the residence weighed a total of 8,833 grams.
The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration, Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, and New Mexico State Police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Long was in charge of the prosecution.