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Meth ring member given 5-year sentence

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Vallejos

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A Roswell man has been sentenced to five years in federal court on methamphetamine charges stemming from an undercover narcotics investigation in 2015 that resulted in drug charges against 41 people.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, 25-year-old Joseph Vallejos is also set to be on supervised release for four years following his 60-month prison sentence.

Vallejos and co-defendant Renee Rodriguez, 33, also of Roswell, were charged in a criminal complaint filed in September 2015, with conspiracy, distribution of methamphetamine and firearms offenses in Chaves County.

According to the criminal complaint, Vallejos and Rodriguez sold a total of 157.7 grams of methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement officers during nine separate transactions between July 2015 and September 2015.

The complaint further charged Rodriguez with brandishing a handgun during a methamphetamine transaction on July 8, 2015.

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As a result, Vallejos and Rodriguez were charged in a nine-count indictment filed on Dec. 17, 2015.

The indictment charged Vallejos and Rodriguez with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine from July 1, 2015 through July 30, 2015. It also charged Rodriguez with distributing methamphetamine on three occasions in July 2015, and Vallejos and Rodriguez with distributing methamphetamine on four occasions in July 2015.

Rodriguez also was charged with brandishing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime on July 8, 2015. According to the indictment, Vallejos and Rodriguez committed the nine crimes in Chaves County.

The DOJ said that on Aug. 3, 2016, Vallejos pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and four methamphetamine distribution charges.

“In entering the guilty plea, Vallejos admitted that he was responsible for distributing approximately 52.6 grams of methamphetamine in Chaves County in July 2015,” the DOJ said.

On Aug. 12, 2016, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to two of the distribution of methamphetamine charges and to brandishing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

By entering the guilty plea, Rodriguez admitted that on July 8, 2015, she distributed about 15 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement officer, and during that transaction, she used and carried a firearm.

Rodriguez further admitted that she distributed about 11.9 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement officer on July 30, 2015.

Rodriguez was sentenced on Oct. 31, 2017, to 63 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Forty-one people, 35 of them from Roswell, were charged with drug-related offenses in 2015 in both state and federal court after the eight-month undercover narcotics investigation.

The arrests began with a shootout with police July 31, 2015, at the north side Taco Bell in Roswell, in which 34-year-old Jeremy L. Hatch was killed and a Roswell police officer was shot and injured.

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