ALBUQUERQUE – Grace Roman Childers, 59, of Roswell, N.M., pleaded guilty today in Las Cruces federal court to a methamphetamine trafficking charge. The guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, 5th Judicial District Attorney Janetta B. Hicks, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Commander Mike Wilson of the Lea County Drug Task Force (LCDTF).
Childers was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 17, 2013, on a federal criminal complaint alleging methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges, and was transferred to New Mexico on July 31, 2013. According to the criminal complaint, officers of the LCDTF arrested Childers in Hobbs, N.M., on state charges on Feb. 19, 2013, after finding approximately 300 grams of methamphetamine and a loaded handgun when they executed a state search warrant on a vehicle Childers was driving. The officers also found a digital scale with drug residue and $7,420 in cash in Childers’ vehicle. The state charges against Childers were dismissed after federal charges were filed.
Today Childers entered a guilty plea to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and admitted possessing approximately 299.85 grams of pure methamphetamine on Feb. 19, 2013, in Lea County, N.M. She further admitted that she was storing the drugs in her vehicle with the intention of distributing the drugs before it was seized by law enforcement officers.
Childers is in federal custody and remains detained pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, she faces a term of imprisonment of not less than ten years and a maximum of life imprisonment.
This case was investigated by the Roswell office of the FBI and the Lea County Drug Task Force, with assistance from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shaheen P. Torgoley and Terri J. Abernathy of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
The Lea County Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Lea County Sheriff’s Office, Hobbs Police Department, Lovington Police Department, Eunice Police Department and the Jal Police Department, and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.