A man linked by New Mexico authorities to the Sept. 6 killing of an 11-year-old boy in Albuquerque has been indicted on drug charges in a separate case.
Nathen Richard Garley faces federal charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance after New Mexico State Police on Sept. 13 stopped him and a woman in Cibola County in a vehicle carrying more than 24 pounds of fentanyl, court records show.
Garley, 21, and Jose Romero, 22, are facing state homicide charges for allegedly firing 17 shots at a white pickup truck leaving an Albuquerque Isotopes baseball game, killing Froylan Villegas and injuring his cousin. State authorities characterized the shooting as a case of mistaken identity.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham cited the shooting in declaring a 30-day suspension of open and concealed carry laws on Sept. 8. A federal judge put most of the ban on hold a week later. The governor has since narrowed the scope of the contested order.
State authorities arrested Romero on Sept. 21 in Albuquerque.
Garley has been in custody since a state officer who is also a Department of Homeland Security drug task force member conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 40 of a vehicle a license plate check revealed had its insurance suspended.
The officer interviewed driver Alexis Romero and was told she and her boyfriend were returning from Phoenix and headed to Albuquerque, federal court records show.
The officer allegedly noticed a strong odor of marijuana inside the vehicle and informed the driver and her passenger, Garley, that he was a member of a drug task force and would conduct a probable cause search. The search turned up a gray duffel bag with six clear plastic bundles containing blue pills with the letter M on one side and the number 30 on the other, according to court documents.
A Homeland Security Investigations special agent field-tested the pills and determined them to be fentanyl. The total weight of the drugs was 10.97 kilograms or 24.18 pounds, court records show.
The federal grand jury issued its drug indictment on Oct. 4. Garley faces arraignment in state court this Tuesday in connection with Villegas’ death.