Ties That Bind: Feds target Albuquerque man in Vegas drug trafficking investigation

Ties That Bind: Feds target Albuquerque man in Vegas drug trafficking investigation

From the Las Vegas Optic

Editor’s note: The following is part three of a series exploring the role street gangs, prison gangs and organized crime play in violence, drug trafficking and addiction within Las Vegas and its surrounding communities.

Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency arrived in Las Vegas on Aug. 13, 2019, although it’s likely no one noticed them. Following months of surveillance, they’d tracked a suspected drug trafficker to a home in the 900 block of Commerce Street, a residence agents allege was being used to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.

The DEA’s months-long investigation culminated in September 2019 with multiple raids on Las Vegas homes and a bank, in a joint effort with the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. By Sept. 20, eight people were in federal custody, including Robert Corbin Padilla, an Albuquerque man federal law enforcement agencies allege was behind the majority of illegal drug sales in Las Vegas.

This was not the first time federal authorities investigated Padilla for drug trafficking. According to affidavits filed in U.S. District Court, the DEA and the Region IV Narcotics Task Force investigated Padilla in the spring of 2019, but task force officers believed someone within the district attorney’s office had told Padilla about the investigation, and the investigation was tabled.

DEA agents investigated Padilla first in 2011, and during surveillance in March of that year, agents witnessed Padilla give a man on a motorcycle a backpack. After a traffic stop of the motorcyclist, agents secured a search warrant and located $17,783 in cash in the backpack. Agent’s searched Padilla’s Rio Rancho home in November 2011, but did not locate any drugs, contraband or evidence of drug trafficking, according to affidavits. Agents allege Padilla had received a tip that the DEA was securing the search warrant before they could search his home.