Federal jury convicts Albuquerque man of drug trafficking offenses

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, announced that a federal jury returned a guilty verdict on Rafael Columbie on Dec. 1. The jury convicted Columbie, 53, of Albuquerque, on one count each of conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute 50 grams and more of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams and more of heroin.

The case against Columbie was part of a long-term investigation into a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. On July 18, 2018, Columbie was traveling east on Interstate 40 when a New Mexico State Police Officer stopped Columbie for speeding. During a consensual search of the vehicle, officers found over 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine and over 200 grams of heroin in bundles within a Coca-Cola soda box behind the driver seat.

Columbie will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled. He faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated this case with assistance from the New Mexico State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Peter J. Eicker and David B. Hirsch are prosecuting the case.

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