LAS CRUCES - A Sunland Park woman was sentenced to a dozen years in prison after prosecutors accused her of participating in a drug trafficking and money laundering racket along the border.
Rosa De Santiago, 48, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to seven charges, including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, international money laundering conspiracy, and possession with intent to distribute.
De Santiago was arrested and charged in May 2017 along with 22 others after a 16-month federal investigation into a multi-state drug smuggling and money laundering ring. A news release said the DEA led the investigation into the ring. The release also said that the IRS assisted.
Court records show federal agents tracked phone messages and calls of dozens of people in Doña Ana County, Albuquerque and El Paso as part of the investigation. The phone conversations were the basis of an affidavit that detailed the drug trafficking operation that federal agents said began in April 2016 and ended in April 2017.
Federal agents said in court records that the operation imported large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine from Mexico and distributed the drugs in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Kentucky and Illinois.
During the investigation, federal agents said they seized some 30 kilograms of heroin, 64 kilograms of methamphetamine, 17 kilograms of cocaine, 20 kilograms of marijuana, 24 firearms, $102,000 in currency, and three vehicles.
De Santiago was the last person to be sentenced, although court records show that one individual charged in the case remains at large. After serving her prison sentence, De Santiago will also have to serve a five-year probation and parole sentence.
Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at JEGarcia@lcsun-news.com or on Twitter @Just516garc.
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This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Sunland Park woman sentenced to 12 years for role in drug smuggling racket