By Carlos Padilla
An El Paso man is behind bars in Sierra County and is facing a range of criminal charges stemming from a drug bust that took place locally in early 2012.
Documents filed in Sierra County Magistrate Court on Monday, Aug. 18, identify 36-year-old Abraham Lira of the 10300-block of Wilshire Dr., in El Paso, as the man being charged with four felony charges, including second-degree racketeering, third-degree conspiracy to commit racketeering, third-degree conspiracy to commit a felony (trafficking cocaine), and fourth-degree criminal solicitation.
In January 2012, Seventh Judicial District Attorney’s Office Senior Investigator R.D. Hays and Truth or Consequences Police Department Detective Michael Lanford conducted an undercover operation that led to the arrests of several individuals locally.
The ongoing investigation actually began in November 2010, and resulted in 21 felony arrest warrants being issued for crimes related to trafficking and distribution of controlled substances within Sierra County. By 2012, all of the individuals targeted by these arrest warrants had been taken into custody. At that time, some were still awaiting prosecution, while others were successfully prosecuted in the Seventh Judicial District Court or in federal courts.
One of those investigations led to a number of individuals involved in the sale of a range of narcotics, including cocaine. The El Paso connection for the cocaine transactions was identified as being Mr. Lira, and the end point for the illicit drug was a residence in the 400-block of North Birch Street in Truth or Consequences.
Lira was arrested on Saturday, Aug. 16, on a felony arrest warrant and is presently incarcerated at the Sierra County Detention Facility.