Fifteen men and four women have been charged in an alleged drug dealing and money laundering operation that allegedly involved multiple pounds of marijuana and cocaine, millions of dollars and a southeast Albuquerque carwash, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.
Local, state and federal law enforcement officers dropped the net Friday, arresting 13, including the operation’s alleged ringleader, 33-year-old Christopher Roybal of Albuquerque, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Six of those named in the indictment are still at large.
The investigation began in August 2011, the news release states. Since then, agents have purchased nearly 8 pounds of cocaine and 18 pounds of “high-grade marijuana.”
On Friday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, agents executed search warrants on six Albuquerque residences and one business and served restraining orders on six bank accounts. They seized eight vehicles, four motorcycles and a Jet Ski.
“We’re not going to stop with these arrests,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Carol Lee said in the news release.
“We’re going to hit the accused drug traffickers where it hurts: their wallets. Our message to drug traffickers in New Mexico and elsewhere is crystal clear: we will bring you to justice no matter what it takes. And we will go after everything you made or used when you broke the law.”
The 60-count indictment charges drug trafficking, money laundering, money laundering conspiracies and other offenses.
The indictment seeks property forfeiture of Roybal’s residence, the Air Force One Express Car Wash on the 6000 block of Gibson SE, and a money judgement of more than $4 million.
The defendants face anywhere from 10 years to life in prison if convicted, according to the news release.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal