Man sentenced in Alamogordo drug trafficking case


Daniel James McKinley (courtesy Twelfth District Attorney)

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – A 36-year-old man has been sentenced in an Alamogordo drug trafficking case. Daniel McKinley was sentenced to 44 and a half years in prison on September 3, 2020.

The Twelfth Judicial District Attorney’s Office states that after a three day trial in August, an Otero County jury found McKinley guilty of trafficking methamphetamine and heroin, possession of cocaine, conspiracy to commit trafficking, two counts of tampering with evidence, two counts of conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence, and receiving stolen property.

The District Attorney’s Office reports that on December 4, 2018, the Alamogordo Police Department received a call from staff with the White Sands Mall. The caller told police they found a black pouch inside the garbage can in the men’s restroom and when they opened it to try and identify its owner, a large amount of drugs were found.

APD officers seized the pouch and found bank cards that belonged to Daniel McKinley. During an investigation, officers watched video surveillance from a nearby store and as a result of previous contact with McKinley, they were able to positively identify him near the mall restroom area.

As officers were investigating, the District Attorney’s Office states that they saw known acquaintances of McKinley try to enter the restroom area where the black pouch was found after it had already been seized. The acquaintances left the mall and officers saw them enter and drive away in an orange Dodge Charger.

Shortly after, Alamogordo Police received a call from the Suburban Motel in regards to suspicious activity involving an orange Dodge Charger. Officers who responded to the area identified the Charger as the same vehicle that left the mall.

While watching motel surveillance footage, officers reportedly saw McKinley leave the area near the motel on foot and pass by a nearby dumpster. After searching the dumpster, officers located four firearms.

The firearms found in the dumpster and the drugs found in the black pouch were sent to the New Mexico State Crime Lab and were tested for DNA. The lab confirmed that McKinley’s DNA was located on several of the items which in total were 192 grams of methamphetamine, 121 grams of heroin, and .13 grams of cocaine.

McKinley was found guilty of trafficking methamphetamine, possession of heroin, possesssion of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia following a two-day trial before Judge Daniel. A. Bryant in October 2019. He was sentenced to serve 21 and a half years in prison in that case on November 14, 2019.

The District Attorney’s Office states that the sentence in this case will run consecutively with the previous case. McKinley has one federal prior for posession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine and a state prior for felon in possession of a firearm.

Due to his prior drug trafficking convictions, McKinley’s drug trafficking convictions have been enhanced to first degree felonies with each carrying a mandatory 18-year prison sentence. His other felony convictions were enhanced under New Mexico’s Habitual Offender laws.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Scot Key prosecuted the case and was investigated by the Alamogordo Police Department.

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