By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer
A year-long federal drug investigation that resulted in 14 arrests earlier this month produced an undisclosed amount of cash, but only a small amount of illegal drugs, court records show.
Officials said the lack of drugs seized will have no impact on the prosecution of the case, which they’ve said will significantly impact the production, trafficking and use of methamphetamine in eastern New Mexico.
“Whatever we find or don’t find does nothing to a case,” said Sharon Kimball, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, citing probable cause that led to multiple indictments.
Authorities searched seven Clovis locations on Nov. 3 and one Clovis location on Nov. 4 in Operation Ice Takedown, according to search warrant returns filed in federal and district courts.
A glass pipe with methamphetamine was recovered from one location, court records show.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said he does not know specifics about the raids, but said they produced large amounts of cash and numerous weapons.
“I do feel like this (bust) will make a significant impact because these were major drug traffickers that were making numerous transactions of pounds of methamphetamine and literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in transactions every month in our area,” Chandler said.
The following was recovered from the searches, court records show:
Receipts, cell phones, a computer, small plastic bags, digital scales, financial, court and personal documents, unknown amounts of U.S. currency, latex gloves, a food sealer, a bong, a suspected pipe bomb and nine firearms with magazines.
Confidential informants, undercover agents and telephone wire taps tracked the interstate methamphetamine trafficking organization, according to a search warrant affidavit written by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent.
Officials allege a methamphetamine organization was headed by Fernando Enrique Perez, 31, of Clovis. David Rosales (born in 1977) of California, is accused of being “the source of supply from California for the organization,” court records show.
A confidential informant who cooperated with authorities to potentially reduce a criminal sentence said Rosales supplied five to 10 pounds of methamphetamine to Clovis per week, the records show. The same informant told police Rosales had methamphetamine shipped to Clovis, two to four ounces at a time in stuffed animals and dolls from California, the records show.
Perez and Rosales are in federal custody with the U.S. Marshal Service, Kimball said.
A status conference to discuss evidence and motions is scheduled Nov. 28 in Albuquerque Federal Court, Kimball said.
All but one of 15 defendants indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 26 have been arrested, Kimball said.
Officials said they are still looking for Troy Cole of Clovis (born in 1965).
Officials searched eight Clovis locations on Nov. 3-4 as part of a year-long federal investigation into methamphetamine trafficking. Here is a partial list of what they found, according to court records:
Westgate Storage Unit No. 46, 1716 N. Martin Luther King Blvd., Clovis
• Letter addressed to Clovis resident
Westgate Storage Unit No. 9
• Three digital scales
• Glass bong
• Glass pipe with methamphetamine
• White plastic container with numerous clear plastic baggies
Boat-RV Corral Unit No. D6, 2923 N. Prince St., Clovis
• 4 Glock magazines
• Glock pistol with holster
• Burlap bag with black plastic bag attached
• Sentry safe containing plastic baggies
• Locked blue pouch
• Electronic scale
• Digital scale in foam pouch
• 3 Mak magazines
• Double-barrel Derringer
• Colt revolver
• Glock pistol case
• Yugo with scope
• SKS rifle
• Mak 90
• 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun
1317 Gidding St., Clovis
• Map of the U.S. with locations in Texas marked
1817 Gidding St., Clovis
• Cellular phone
• Hand-written pay/owe sheets
• Motorola scanner
• Vehicle registration for a 1998 Chevy pickup
• CD containing photos
• Cellular phone
2009 Grayson Court, Clovis
• Mini day planner, calendar and ledger
• Self-storage receipt
• Self-storage rental agreement
• Envelope addressed to Clovis resident
• Self-storage business card with access code and storage unit number
• Insurance bill
• Handwritten note with names and numbers
• Public defender letter addressed to Clovis resident
• Ruger rifle
• .22-caliber magazine
• Several business cards with names and numbers
• New Mexico driver’s license belonging to Clovis resident
• Magistrate court payment receipt
• Digital scale
• Several small plastic baggies
308 Remuda Dr., Clovis
• Bank statement and money order receipt
• Shoebox containing unknown amount of U.S. currency (found in a bedroom safe)
• Court records
• Two vehicle titles
• Telephone bill
• Police report
• Three bundles of U.S. currency, unknown amount, found on kitchen counter
• Miscellaneous documents and telephone numbers
• Court documents
Llano Self Storage Unit No. 313, 600 Towngate Plaza, Clovis
• CN Romarm rifle
• Camo rifle case with two magazines
• Vacuum food sealer
• Evidence bag with rolled sealing bags for food sealer
• Sandwich bags
• Box of latex gloves
• Laptop computer
• A suspected pipebomb (Cannon Air Force Base explosive ordnance disposal destroyed the device.)