Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, and Gregory M. Millard, Special Agent in Charge for the DEA El Paso Division, announced today that Jorge Marquez was sentenced to over 27 years in prison. Marquez, 43, of Chaparral, New Mexico, pleaded guilty on May 17, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of distributing 5 grams or more of methamphetamine, and six counts of distributing 50 grams and more of methamphetamine. On April 4, 2023, Marquez was sentenced to 327 months in prison. Upon his release from prison, Marquez will be subject to 5 years of supervised release.
The case against Marquez was part of a five-year investigation into a transnational criminal organization known as the Artistas Asesinos, or Doble A Cartel, which dually operates as a drug trafficking organization and the enforcement arm of the Sinaloa Cartel in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and Southern New Mexico. Between 2017 and 2021, Marquez personally delivered, attempted to deliver, or directed others to deliver more than three pounds of methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement agents. In so doing, Marquez recruited couriers and distributors in the United States to include his codefendants in the case – Samantha Bailon, Vanessa Bailon, Jasmine Barradas, and Veronica Rivera – and coordinated the logistics of the Artistas Asesinos drug trafficking activity while in and out of custody in Mexico. Marquez was ultimately arrested on February 24, 2021, when he and a passenger presented in a vehicle at the United States Border Patrol checkpoint south of Alamogordo, New Mexico, and was found in possession of 105.1 grams of methamphetamine concealed in the dashboard of the vehicle.
“This is a fine example of how our agents in collaboration with our law enforcement partners work diligently to keep our community safe from dangerous drugs,” said Miguel Dominguez, Chief of Police for the Las Cruces Police Department. “It proves how critical our law enforcement partnerships are, we will continue to work together to hold drug trafficking organizations accountable for their actions.”
“Illegal drug activity brings danger to our communities—it will not be tolerated,” said Raul Bujanda, FBI Special Agent in Charge. “Collaborative law enforcement efforts will continue to identify and disrupt drug trafficking organizations bringing violence to our streets. Investigations like this prove the essential value of strong law enforcement partnerships and working together to meet a common goal.”
“This case demonstrates the lengths the Sinaloa Cartel will go to bring their poison into our communities,” said Greg Millard, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s El Paso Division. “But any person or organization affiliating themselves with Sinaloa will discover the men and women of the DEA will also go to great lengths to bring them to justice.”
“The Sinaloa Cartel uses gangs like Artistas Asesinos to push their drugs, collect their debts, and inflict their violence,” said U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez. “Local, state, and federal law enforcement, working shoulder-to-shoulder, will proactively target and bring to justice groups who profit off of the addiction, suffering, and misery of others.”
The investigation of the Artistas Asesinos was led by the Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency. Metro Narcotics is the leading task force combating drug trafficking in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. Metro Narcotics operates as a joint agency composed of investigators from the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, and New Mexico State Police. Metro Narcotics was also supported in the investigation by agents from the Las Cruces Resident Agency of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Las Cruces District Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Selesia L. Winston and Matthew Ramirez are prosecuting the case.