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United States v. Deleon

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

November 18, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
ANGEL DELEON, JOE LAWRENCE GALLEGOS, EDWARD TROUP, a.k.a. “Huero Troup, ” LEONARD LUJAN, BILLY GARCIA, a.k.a. “Wild Bill, ” EUGENE MARTINEZ, a.k.a. “Little Guero, ” ALLEN PATTERSON, CHRISTOPHER CHAVEZ, a.k.a. “Critter, ” JAVIER ALONSO, a.k.a. “Wineo, ” ARTURO ARNULFO GARCIA, a.k.a. “Shotgun, ” BENJAMIN CLARK, a.k.a. “Cyclone, ” RUBEN HERNANDEZ; JERRY ARMENTA, a.k.a. “Creeper, ” JERRY MONTOYA, a.k.a. “Boxer, ” MARIO RODRIGUEZ, a.k.a. “Blue, ” TIMOTHY MARTINEZ, a.k.a. “Red, ” MAURICIO VARELA, a.k.a. “Archie, ” a.k.a. “Hog Nuts, ” DANIEL SANCHEZ, a.k.a. “Dan, ” GERALD ARCHULETA, a.k.a. “Styx, ” a.k.a. “Grandma, ” CONRAD VILLEGAS, a.k.a. “Chitmon, ” ANTHONY RAY BACA, a.k.a. “Pup, ” ROBERT MARTINEZ, a.k.a. “Baby Rob, ” ROY PAUL MARTINEZ, a.k.a. “Shadow, ” CHRISTOPHER GARCIA, CARLOS HERRERA, a.k.a. “Lazy, ” RUDY PEREZ, a.k.a. “Ru Dog, ” ANDREW GALLEGOS, a.k.a. “Smiley, ” SANTOS GONZALEZ; PAUL RIVERA, SHAUNA GUTIERREZ, and BRANDY RODRIGUEZ, Defendants.

          Fred Federici Attorney for the United States Acting Under Authority Conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 515 Albuquerque, New Mexico and Maria Ysabel Armijo Randy M. Castellano Matthew Beck Assistant United States Attorneys United States Attorney's Office Las Cruces, New Mexico Attorneys for the Plaintiff

          Susan M. Porter Albuquerque, New Mexico and Sarah M. Gorman Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Angel DeLeon

          Richard Sindel Sindel, Sindel & Noble, P.C. Clayton, Missouri and Brock Benjamin Benjamin Law Firm El Paso, Texas Attorneys for Defendant Joe Lawrence Gallegos

          Patrick J. Burke Patrick J. Burke, P.C. Denver, Colorado and Cori Ann Harbour-Valdez The Harbour Law Firm, P.C. El Paso, Texas Attorneys for Defendant Edward Troup

          Russell Dean Clark Las Cruces, New Mexico Attorney for Defendant Leonard Lujan

          James A. Castle Castle & Castle, P.C. Denver, Colorado and Robert R. Cooper Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Billy Garcia

          Douglas E. Couleur Douglas E. Couleur, P.A. Santa Fe, New Mexico Attorney for Defendant Eugene Martinez

          Joseph E. Shattuck Marco & Shattuck Law Firm Albuquerque, New Mexico and Jeffrey C. Lahann Las Cruces, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Allen Patterson

          Eduardo Solis El Paso, Texas and John L. Granberg Granberg Law Office El Paso, Texas and Orlando Mondragon El Paso, Texas Attorneys for Defendant Christopher Chavez

          Nathan D. Chambers Nathan D. Chambers, Attorney at Law Denver, Colorado and Noel Orquiz Deming, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Javier Alonso

          Laura E. Udall Cooper & Udall Law Offices Tucson, Arizona and Scott Moran Davidson Albuquerque, New Mexico and Billy R. Blackburn Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Arturo Arnulfo Garcia

          Stephen E. Hosford Stephen E. Hosford, P.C. Arrey, New Mexico and Jerry Daniel Herrera Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Benjamin Clark

          Pedro Pineda Las Cruces, New Mexico and León Encinias León Felipe Encinias, Attorney at Law Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Ruben Hernandez

          Gary Mitchell Mitchell Law Office Ruidoso, New Mexico Attorney for Defendant Jerry Armenta

          Larry A. Hammond Osborn Maledon, P.A. Phoenix, Arizona and Margaret Strickland McGraw & Strickland Las Cruces, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Jerry Montoya

          Steven M. Potolsky Jacksonville Beach, Florida and Santiago D. Hernandez Law Office of Santiago D. Hernandez El Paso, Texas Attorneys for Defendant Mario Rodriguez

          Steven Lorenzo Almanza Las Cruces, New Mexico and Ray Velarde El Paso, Texas Attorneys for Defendant Timothy Martinez

          Joe Spencer El Paso, Texas and Mary Stillinger El Paso, Texas Attorneys for Defendant Mauricio Varela

          Lauren Noriega The Noriega Law Firm Los Angeles, California and Richard Jewkes El Paso, Texas and Amy E. Jacks Law Office of Amy E. Jacks Los Angeles, California Attorneys for Defendant Daniel Sanchez

          George A. Harrison Las Cruces, New Mexico and Kimberly S. Bruselas-Benavidez Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Gerald Archuleta

          B.J. Crow Crow Law Firm Roswell, New Mexico Attorney for Defendant Conrad Villegas

          Theresa M. Duncan Duncan Earnest LLC Albuquerque, New Mexico and Marc M. Lowry Rothstein Donatelli LLP Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Anthony Ray Baca

          Charles J. McElhinney CJM Law Firm Las Cruces, New Mexico Attorney for Defendant Robert Martinez

          Marcia J. Milner Las Cruces, New Mexico Attorney for Defendant Roy Paul Martinez

          Christopher W. Adams Charleston, South Carolina and Amy Sirignano Law Office of Amy Sirignano, P.C. Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Christopher Garcia

          William R. Maynard El Paso, Texas and Carey Corlew Bhalla Law Office of Carey C. Bhalla, LLC Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Carlos Herrera

          Justine Fox-Young Albuquerque, New Mexico and Ryan J. Villa Law Office of Ryan J. Villa Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Rudy Perez

          Donavon A. Roberts Albuquerque, New Mexico and Lisa Torraco Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Andrew Gallegos

          Erlinda O. Johnson Law Office of Erlinda Ocampo Johnson Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorney for Defendant Santos Gonzalez

          Keith R. Romero Keith R. Romero, Attorney and Counselor at Law Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorney for Paul Rivera

          Angela Arellanes Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorney for Defendant Shauna Gutierrez

          Jerry A. Walz Alfred D. Creecy Samuel Winder Walz and Associates Albuquerque, New Mexico Attorneys for Defendant Brandy Rodriguez

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on: (i) the Defendants' Motion for Additional Discovery Regarding Monetary Payments to Inmate Informant Witnesses, filed November 30, 2017 (Doc. 1501)(“Discovery Motion”); and (ii) the Defendants' Motion in Limine re: Plea Agreements and Addenda, filed November 30, 2017 (Doc. 1502)(“Motion in Limine”). The Court held a hearing on December 18, 2017. See Transcript of Combined Motions to Suppress Proceedings and Daubert Hearings at 224:18-231:10, 259:2-272:3 (taken December 18, 2017), filed January 2, 2018 (Doc. 1600)(“Tr.”). The primary issues are: (i) whether the United States must produce information concerning payments to cooperating witnesses; and (ii) whether the United States may introduce or reference written plea agreements from cooperating witnesses at the trial. The Court concludes that: (i) Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972)(“Giglio”), requires the United States to produce government payments and benefits provided to cooperating witnesses as well as any requests these cooperators made; and (ii) the United States must redact testimonial statements from plea agreements that it introduces into evidence and raise related evidentiary issues before the bench, rather than in open court.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Court takes its background facts from the Second Superseding Indictment, filed March 9, 2017 (Doc. 947)(“Indictment”). The background facts are largely unchanged from those facts that the Court provided in its Memorandum Opinion and Order, 323 F.R.D. 672, filed December 18, 2017 (Doc. 1585). The Court does not set forth these facts as findings or the truth. The Court recognizes that the factual background largely reflects the United States' version of events.

         This case deals with crimes that the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico (“SNM”) allegedly committed through its members. Indictment at 2. SNM, through its members, operated in the District of New Mexico at all relevant times, and its members engaged in acts of violence and other criminal activities, “including murder, kidnapping, attempted murder, conspiracy to manufacture/distribute narcotics, and firearms trafficking.” Indictment at 2. SNM constitutes an enterprise “as defined in Title 18, United States Code, Section 1959(b)(2), that is, a group of individuals associated in fact that engaged in, and the activities of which affected, interstate and foreign commerce.” Indictment at 2-3.

         SNM is a prison gang that formed in the early 1980s at the Penitentiary of New Mexico (“PNM”) after a violent prison riot at PNM during which inmates assaulted and raped twelve correctional officers after taking them hostage. Indictment at 3. During the riot, thirty-three inmates were killed, and over 200 inmates were injured. See Indictment at 3. After the PNM riot, SNM expanded throughout the state's prison system and has had as many as 500 members. See Indictment at 3. SNM now has approximately 250 members, including “a ‘panel' or ‘mesa' (Spanish for table) of leaders who issue orders to subordinate gang members.” Indictment at 3. SNM controls drug distribution and other illegal activities within the New Mexico penal system, but it also conveys orders to members outside the prison system. See Indictment at 3. Members who rejoin their communities after completing their sentences are expected to further the gang's goals: primarily the control and profit of narcotics trafficking. See Indictment at 3-4. Members who fail “to show continued loyalty to the gang [are] disciplined in various ways, [] includ[ing] murder and assaults.” Indictment at 4. SNM also intimidates and influences smaller New Mexico Hispanic gangs to expand its power. See Indictment at 4. If another gang does not follow SNM's demands, SNM will assault or kill one of the other gang's members to show its power. See Indictment at 4. SNM's rivalry with other gangs also manifests itself in beatings and stabbings within the prison system. See Indictment at 4. SNM engages in violence “to assert its gang identity, to claim or protect its territory, to challenge or respond to challenges, to retaliate against a rival gang or member, [and] to gain notoriety and show its superiority over others.” Indictment at 4. To show its strength and influence, SNM expects its members to confront and attack any suspected law enforcement informants, cooperating witnesses, homosexuals, or sex offenders. See Indictment at 5. To achieve its purpose of preserving its power, SNM uses intimidation, violence, threats of violence, assaults, and murder. See Indictment at 7. SNM generates income by having its members and associates traffic drugs and extort narcotics traffickers. See Indictment at 8. SNM members' recent conspiracy to murder high-ranking New Mexico Corrections Department (“NM Corrections Department”) Officials led to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (“FBI”) present investigation. See United States v. Garcia, 221 F.Supp.3d 1275, 1277 (D.N.M. 2016)(Browning, J.). The other relevant facts giving rise to this case are as follows.

         In March, 2014, a Doña Ana County, New Mexico, grand jury indicted Defendants Jerry Montoya and Jerry Armenta on charges of first-degree murder and four other felonies related to the death of Javier Enrique Molina. See Memorandum Opinion and Order at 6, 2016 WL 7242579, at *3, filed October 28, 2016 (Doc. 753)(“MOO”). Molina was J. Montoya and Armenta's fellow inmate during their incarceration at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility (“Southern New Mexico”). See MOO at 6, 2016 WL 7242579, at *3. The New Mexico Third Judicial District Attorney's Office accused J. Montoya and Armenta of fatally stabbing Molina with a shank in a gang-related attack. See MOO at 6, 2016 WL 7242579, at *3. That New Mexico indictment charged J. Montoya and Armenta with: (i) Molina's murder; (ii) possessing a deadly weapon; (iii) tampering with evidence; and (iv) two counts of conspiracy. See MOO at 6-7, 2016 WL 7242579, at *3. In November, 2015, the state District Attorney dismissed the charges against J. Montoya and Armenta -- as well as separate charges against their alleged accomplice, Defendant Mario Rodriguez, who had been charged with possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner, tampering, and conspiracy. See MOO at 7, 2016 WL 7242579, at *3. “A spokesperson for the District Attorney's Office indicated the charges were dismissed because the cases were going to be prosecuted at the federal court level.” MOO at 7, 2016 WL 7242579, at *3.

         The United States now brings this case, which it initiated in Las Cruces, New Mexico, against thirty-one Defendants, charging them with a total of sixteen counts. See Indictment at 1, 9-18. All Defendants are accused of participating in the SNM enterprise's operation and management, and of committing unlawful activities “as a consideration for the receipt of, and as consideration for a promise and an agreement to pay, anything of pecuniary value from SNM and for the purpose of gaining entrance to and maintaining and increasing position in SNM, an enterprise engaged in racketeering activity.” Indictment at 9-18. Defendant Arturo Arnulfo Garcia, Defendant Gerald Archuleta, [1] Defendant Benjamin Clark, M. Rodriguez, Defendant Anthony Ray Baca, Defendant Robert Martinez, Defendant Roy Paul Martinez, [2] and D. Sanchez are the enterprise's alleged leaders. See Indictment at 6. The other Defendants are allegedly members or associates who acted under the direction of the enterprise's leaders. See Indictment at 6. The SNM gang enterprise, through its members and associates, allegedly engaged in: (i) racketeering activity as 18 U.S.C. §§ 1959(b)(1) and 1961(1) defines that term; (ii) murder and robbery in violation of New Mexico law; (iii) acts, indictable under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512, and 1513, “involving obstruction of justice, tampering with or retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant”; and (iv) offenses involving trafficking in narcotics in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841 and 846. Indictment at 9.

         Specifically, the Indictment alleges that, on March 26, 2001, Defendants Angel DeLeon, Joe Gallegos, Edward Troup, Leonard Lujan, and Billy Garcia murdered “F.C.” Indictment at 9 (Count 1). On the same day, Lujan, B. Garcia, and Defendants Eugene Martinez, Allen Patterson, and Christopher Chavez allegedly murdered “R.G.” Indictment at 10 (Count 2). On June 17, 2007, Defendant Javier Alonso, Troup, A.A. Garcia, Clark, and Defendant Ruben Hernandez allegedly murdered “F.S.” Indictment at 10-11 (Count 3). On November 12, 2012, J. Gallegos and Defendant Andrew Gallegos allegedly conspired to murder “A.B.” Indictment at 11 (Count 4). On the same day, J. Gallegos and A. Gallegos allegedly murdered A.B. See Indictment at 11-12 (Count 5). In March 2014, Armenta, Montoya, M. Rodriguez, Defendant Timothy Martinez, Baca, Defendant Mauricio Varela, D. Sanchez, Defendant Carlos Herrera, and Defendant Rudy Perez allegedly conspired to murder “J.M.” Indictment at 12 (Count 6). On March 7, 2014, Armenta, Montoya, M. Rodriguez, T. Martinez, Baca, Varela, D. Sanchez, Herrera, and R. Perez allegedly murdered J.M. See Indictment at 13 (Count 7).

         Further, starting in or around 2003 -- and until about July 13, 2015 -- Baca, Archuleta, and Defendant Conrad Villegas allegedly conspired to commit assault resulting in serious bodily injury to “J.R.” Indictment at 13-14 (Count 8). Starting “on a date uncertain, but no later than 2013, ” and until the date of the Indictment -- April 21, 2014 -- Baca, R.P. Martinez, and R. Martinez allegedly conspired to murder “D.S.” Indictment at 14 (Count 9). During the same time period, Baca, R.P. Martinez, R. Martinez, and Defendant Christopher Garcia allegedly conspired to murder “G.M.” Indictment at 15 (Count 10). On November 29, 2015, C. Garcia, a convicted felon, allegedly unlawfully possessed a firearm. See ...


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