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Local task force helps bust drug trafficking ring

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The Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force, Pecos Valley Drug Task Force and Eddy County Sheriff’s Office are among the law enforcement agencies credited with taking part in an investigation that has yielded 10 arrests and brought down a southeastern New Mexico drug trafficking ring.

The Drug Enforcement Agency led the operation that resulted Thursday in the arrest of five suspects and the execution of federal search warrants in La Luz and Hobbs, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico. Another suspect was arrested Feb. 5 and two others Feb. 6.

Another two suspects — Ricardo Hernandez, 44, of Hobbs, and Anita Rios, 45, of Lovington — face charges, but were not arrested.

Luis Batista-Felix, 47, of Phoenix, Edwin Cervantes, 27, of Los Angeles, Maria Dominguez, 41, of Jal, Diane Medrano, 43, of La Luz, and Issac Miranda, 22, of El Paso were all arrested. Hobbs residents Patricia Chihuahua, 37, Abraham Navarrette, 59, and Beatrice Sandoval, 39, were arrested.

All of the suspects face charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances including methamphetamine, and if found convicted all defendants, with the exception of Dominguez, will face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, according to the release.

Dominguez, if convicted, would face a five- to 40-year prison sentence, according to the press release.

Medrano also faces charges of conspiracy to export firearms that could result in a five-year prison sentence.

Law enforcement agencies hailed the operation as an example of law enforcement agencies working together.

Sean Roach, commander of the Lea County Drug Task Force, said in the press release that all the agencies worked well together.

“This investigation will have a major impact on the methamphetamine trafficking in Lea County,” he said. “This investigation took many man hours and effort but in the end it all pays off to see the impact made in our communities.”

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.