Date: November 20, 2020 Contact: email@example.com Albuquerque, NM — Eighteen individuals in the Roswell, New Mexico, area received federal indictments on charges ranging from distribution of methamphetamine to money laundering. The charges are contained three separate indictments totaling 66 counts. According to the indictments and other court records, the defendants allegedly conspired to traffic large amounts of methamphetamine in and around Roswell. The investigation began in 2019 when the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force began an investigation of a Roswell resident who was selling significant quantities of methamphetamine. Investigators executed four search warrants at locations in Roswell and Dexter, New Mexico. As of today, 17 defendants have been arrested, while one defendant is not yet in custody. The investigation included agents from the IRS, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force. "It takes a significant amount of coordination, cooperation, and hard work from numerous agencies to investigate a case of this scale," stated Special Agent in Charge Ismael Nevarez, Jr., of the Phoenix Field Office of IRS-Criminal Investigation. "IRS-CI is fully committed to investigating money laundering by transnational drug trafficking organizations." This investigation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Roswell Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the Chaves County Sherriff's Office. The HIDTA Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff's Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Artesia Police Department. Both are part of the New Mexico HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing. The Las Cruces branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Mexico is prosecuting this case.