By Roger Lanse

Gabriel M. Lucero, 32, of Santa Clara, New Mexico, was convicted in Judge Jarod Hofacket’s 6th Judicial District Court-Silver City on Oct. 3, 2019, in a trial by jury, of trafficking cocaine with intent to distribute. The drug charges were the result of a 2015 investigation and arrest.

On Monday, Mar. 9, 2020, in Hofacket’s court, Lucero was sentenced on the state charges to 10 years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections. According to the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Norman Wheeler, Lucero’s defense, after Lucero’s guilty plea, argued for a one-year imprisonment with five years of probation. However, Wheeler said he argued for the maximum incarceration of nine years, stating drug trafficking was a violent crime and that drug users should receive help, but drug traffickers should leave the area. Judge Hofacket agreed with the prosecution and because Lucero had a prior conviction of voluntary manslaughter was able to enhance the maximum nine-year sentence one year, hence the 10-year term.

Lucero still faces 12 federal charges relating to his being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, dealing in firearms without the proper license, conspiracy, and possession of at least 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of marijuana with intent to distribute. Lucero has entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, pleading guilty to the federal charges. He is being held in the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

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