6 New Mexico residents arrested in conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents arrested six defendants Thursday, charged with various drug trafficking offenses involving crack cocaine.

The following agencies assisted with the investigation: Drug Enforcement Administration, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Region III Narcotics Task Force, which includes members of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe Police Department, Santa Fe County Sheriff and the Taos Police Department.

Jose Mendoza, 32, and Natalie Mendoza, 35, of Medanales, New Mexico; Ryan Rodriguez, 27, of Chamita, New Mexico; Andrea Rodriguez, 28, and Edvardo Carlson, 39, of Española, New Mexico; and Bridget Archuleta, 31, of San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, appeared in federal court Friday for arraignment on an indictment charging them with various drug trafficking offenses involving crack cocaine (cocaine base) in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, from Oct. 2, 2019, to Feb. 25, 2020.

A grand jury returned an indictment against the defendants Feb. 25.

Federal agents arrested them on Thursday with assistance from state and local law enforcement.

According to public court records allegations have been made that, Jose Mendoza, and his wife, Natalie Mendoza, were high-level suppliers of cocaine in the Española Valley of New Mexico. Natalie Mendoza allegedly kept records of drug sales and collected proceeds from drug transactions.

Further, that Ryan Rodriguez acted as a mid-level cocaine distributor, receiving supplies of cocaine from Jose and Natalie Mendoza, converting it to crack cocaine, and distributing it to customers, including an undercover agent posing as a lower-level drug trafficker.

Ryan Rodriguez’s girlfriend, Bridget Archuleta, is alleged to have participated in drug sales with Rodriguez. Ryan Rodriguez’s sister, Andrea Rodriguez, allegedly delivered drugs to customers on Ryan Rodriguez’s behalf.

Additionally, defendant Edvardo Carlson is alleged to have conducted drug transactions at Ryan Rodriguez’s direction.

The defendants communicated extensively by telephone and text message about their drug trafficking business. According to court records, Jose Mendoza and Natalie Mendoza also laundered proceeds from their drug trafficking by making large cash payments on auto loans and large cash deposits into accounts at credit unions.

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