New Mexico men get penalties in meth money-laundering case

Judges gavel

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) – A judge has assessed $605,000 in civil penalties against two brothers accused of running a methamphetamine-trafficking operation between New Mexico and Arizona.

Prosecutors say Alamogordo judge James W. Counts assessed the penalties Monday against Joe Chavez and Robert Chavez.

The brothers were convicted in 2014 at trial of felonies including racketeering, conspiracy, drug trafficking, and multiple counts each of money laundering. Both are serving prison terms.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office jointly prosecuted criminal cases with the Twelfth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors say the civil penalties, sought by the Office of the Attorney General, are believed to be the first ever assessed in New Mexico following money laundering convictions.

Joe Chavez was assessed a penalty of nearly $480,000 while Robert Chavez got a penalty of more than $125,000.

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