A Chaves County jury found Robert Chavez guilty on charges, including one count of racketeering, one for conspiracy to commit racketeering, two counts of trafficking methamphetamines, two counts of conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, and three counts of money laundering. He now faces a prison term of up to 26 years.
The cumulative charges accrued from acts that reportedly took place in Otero County starting in November 2007 through May 2012, where a group brought 7.5 pounds and 4 pounds of methamphetamines to Alamogordo from Arizona on at least two and potentially three separate dates, Feb. 28, April 8 and May 1, 2012. Authorities valued the 4 pounds at $300,000 and the 7.5 at a half million dollars.
Kirby Wills, deputy district attorney, 12th District Court, explained the charges of racketeering allowed the State to put the entire organization on trial. “We did not invent the name of the AZ Boys; they did.”
The money laundering charges originated after the group known as the AZ Boys purchased some 19 vehicles from an Alamogordo dealership, Richardson Motors.
Chavez’s brother Joe spent an estimated $50,000 on vehicles within two week’s time.
A Mercedes-Benz GLK was purchased on March 24, 2012, with successive payments of $9,000 and $9,000 and $8,800, transactions just under the amount which had to be reported to the government. An expert witness testified that none of the appropriate forms for income had been filed.
During the State’s final summation, Matthew J. Bouillon, assistant attorney general, Border Violence Division, said the Chavez brothers and their girlfriends, Tracy Garrison and Angela Catt, completed the purchases when their estimated legitimate income was zero. “It all comes down to greed and lust for power…”
Bouillon reported that neither brother was a drug user. Their only intent was to “poison the community of Alamogordo.”
Attorney for the defense, Jason Flores-Williams, argued that the State had provided no direct evidence such as DNA or fingerprints to link Chavez to the 4 pounds of methamphetamines that were located in a spare tire of a vehicle parked in his driveway. “There’s reasonable doubt beyond measure in this case ”
Flores-Williams urged the jury to find for the defendant.
“They think they can treat anyone like a criminal, and they get away with it. Not today. You are the ones who can say enough is enough. You are the law here. You are the voice of justice.”
Judge Mark Sanchez from Lovington presided in the Chaves County courtroom. He noted there was no contest on the identification of the substance as methamphetamine or on chain of custody for the drug.
Wills told the Daily Record: “We are very pleased. We think it was the right decision.”
Bouillon said the conviction was a landmark in New Mexico.
“This is one of the first money laundering convictions in this state. It creates an opportunity to create new laws.”
After the verdict was announced, Flores-Williams said he would be filing an appeal to address the injustice that has been done.
Originally, six co-defendants were to stand trial simultaneously in Otero County; however, a decision was made to prosecute the cases separately.
Due the publicity, a motion was submitted to move to case to Roswell’s 5th District Court.
Three of the defendants chose to be tried by a Chaves County jury. Wills said Robert Chavez, the leader of the AZ Boys, took place first. Joe Chavez’s case will be heard in Chaves County starting on April 7.
New Mexico State vs. Mafiacs Loza also be tried in Chaves County. Robbie Richardson of Richardson Motors, Angela Catt and Tracy Catt have chosen to be tried in Otero County.