Dunedin Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Transport Illegal Aliens
He also pleaded guilty to drug-related charges in federal court in New Mexico, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – A Dunedin man has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he conspired to transport illegal aliens and intended to distribute methamphetamine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico said.
Ruben Adrian Rubalcava, 36, of Dunedin, pleaded guilty Wednesday (Oct. 31) in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to methamphetamine trafficking and conspiracy to transport illegal aliens charges.
Rubalcava was arrested in September and was charged in two separate federal criminal complaints. The first complaint, filed Sept. 18, charged Rubalcava with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The second complaint, filed Sept. 19, charged Rubalcava and co-defendant Keith Anthony Cummings, 35, of El Paso, Texas, with conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. Both complaints alleged that Rubalcava committed the crimes in Dona Ana County, NM.
According to court filings, on Sept. 16, while responding to a sensor activation during routine patrol, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered three individuals sitting in a parking lot in Sunland Park, NM. Subsequent immigration inspections of the individuals established that two of them were aliens illegally present in the U.S. The agents arrested the third individual, Cummings, on alien smuggling charges. The agents arrested Rubalcava on alien smuggling charges after he approached them and said the individuals were his friends. During a search incident to arrest, the agents said they found 408 grams of methamphetamine inside Rubalcava’s backpack.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Rubalcava pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to transport illegal aliens. In entering the guilty plea, Rubalcava admitted conspiring with another individual on Sept. 16, to drive to Sunland Park with the intention of picking up two illegal aliens who had unlawfully entered the U.S. Rubalcava further admitted that the other individual walked the illegal aliens to Rubalcava’s vehicle and while waiting for Rubalcava to return to the vehicle, U.S. Border Patrol agents approached the vehicle and arrested the two illegal aliens and the other individual.
In his plea agreement, Rubalcava admitted that agents approached him while he was walking towards his vehicle and the agents found methamphetamine in his backpack. Rubalcava acknowledged that he intended to deliver the methamphetamine to others within the U.S. and that he participated in the conspiracy for financial gain.
At sentencing, Rubalcava faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has not been scheduled.
Cummings pleaded guilty Oct. 10 to conspiring to transport illegal aliens and will remain in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has not been scheduled.
These cases were investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol, the DEA and Homeland Security Investigations.
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