HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) - Authorities in southeast New Mexico uncovered a major drug operation in an unsuspecting neighborhood.
Loads of drugs and cash were being shipped to and from New Mexico and California, but now the trafficking has come to a halt.
It started in a quiet suburb in Hobbs in the 200 block of West Gold. Many people in the neighborhood had no idea that behind closed doors, police would find roughly 27 pounds of high-grade marijuana, thousands of dollars in cash and four guns.
"I could not believe that happening right here in this neighborhood," said resident Robert Brown.
The find uncovered a large operation that started to unfold when someone reported suspicious activity at the home.
Hobbs Police searched the home last month and now allege the man behind the operation was Anthony Cabrera, 30.
The investigation didn't stop at what police initially found inside the home. Eventually, the Lea County Drug Task Force learned that Cabrera was distributing loads of marijuana to Lea County and West Texas on a regular basis.
"About every month to month and a half he would arrange for a load of marijuana to be driven here and dropped off, and money would be sent back to California after that," said Commander Michael Wilson of the Lea County Drug Task Force.
The Task Force got a search warrant for a vehicle used by Cabrera and reported finding nearly $150,000 cash, drug money they learned was destined for California.
Brown has relatives who live near the home on Gold and didn't think much of Cabrera's Cadillac Escalade and new truck.
"It seems like they were doing good," Brown said. "I figured he was an oil-field worker because the oil-field business is booming around here."
Wilson said Cabrera cooperated with the investigation and revealed 50-100 pounds of marijuana were routinely shipped to Lea County every 30 to 45 days.
"We're talking about 1,000 pounds, over 1,000 pounds in a year," Wilson continued. "That's 1,000 pounds of marijuana that's making it to our streets, it's making it to our children, and we know that marijuana is a gateway drug."
Authorities call the takedown a success.
"This removes a very high-quality distributor from the area and keeps that marijuana from getting in the hands of our children," said Wilson.
Cabrera posted his $10,000 bond to get out of jail, but Wilson said authorities are keeping him on their radar. He added more arrests are possible.
Cabrera faces up to three years in prison for one count of distributing marijuana and one count of felon in possession of a firearm, both fourth-degree felonies.
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