Breaking Down Barriers: Federal agents aid in struggle to disrupt drug trafficking in Vegas

Breaking Down Barriers: Federal agents aid in struggle to disrupt drug trafficking in Vegas

From the Las Vegas Optic

Editor’s note: The following is part two in an ongoing series on drug and alcohol addiction in San Miguel and Mora counties. In the coming weeks, we’ll explore the roots of addiction, what’s being done about it and take a look at how other communities are addressing addiction.

It was designed to look like a routine transaction. The buyer paid $20,000 in cash for 10 ounces of crack cocaine and 10 ounces of powder cocaine. But it wasn’t routine. In this case, the buyer was paying with cash provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The deal went down on April 10, 2019, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court. A confidential informant working with the DEA bought the cocaine with what’s known as official advanced funds, money that’s part of the DEA’s annual funding and is often earmarked for drug purchases like this one.

The seller of that cocaine, according to the DEA, was Robert Corbin Padilla, an Albuquerque man with ties to Las Vegas — a man agents had been investigating for nearly two years by this point.

Through multiple embedded informants, wiretaps and even surveillance cameras hidden inside utility poles, agents worked night and day to build a case against Padilla, who they allege ran a drug trafficking organization, or DTO, responsible for the majority of illegal drugs being sold in Las Vegas.