Four Mexican Nationals Charged with Federal Heroin Trafficking Offenses
More than 1.5 Kilograms of Heroin and $102,000 Seized from Mexican Drug Traffickers
ALBUQUERQUE – This morning, Mario Quezada-Flores, 32, Jose Sanchez-Garcia, 24, Vicente Estrada-Macedo, 32, and Marcos Gama-Escobar, 32, were ordered detained pending trial after the United States District Court found that their arrests on heroin trafficking charges were supported by probable cause. The four defendants were arrested on March 17, 2011, and are charged in a criminal complaint alleging that they possessed more than a kilogram of heroin with the intent to distribute, as well as criminal conspiracy. If convicted of this offense, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum ten-year term of imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, a maximum $10,000,000 fine, and a five-year term of supervised release. All four defendants are citizens of Mexico who are illegally in the United States.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said the four men were arrested as a result of an investigation by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to the criminal complaint, on March 17, 2011, APD narcotics detectives executed search warrants at two residences located on the west side of Albuquerque. At the first residence, the detectives seized approximately $102,000 in U.S. currency that was bound with rubber bands consistent with packaging methods commonly used by drug traffickers to secure bulk currency, and approximately 1 ½ ounces of heroin. The detectives arrested Quezada-Flores at this first residence. At the second residence, the APD detectives seized approximately 1 ½ gross kilograms of heroin, including heroin that had been packaged into “balloons” for retail distribution, and drug paraphernalia. Sanchez-Garcia, Estrada-Macedo were arrested in this second residence as was Gama-Escobar who was observed leaving the residence in a vehicle just before the detectives began executing the search warrant. Gama-Escobar was also in possession of an additional amount of heroin which was discovered in the vehicle he was driving.
The case is being investigated by the DEA with the full support of APD narcotics detectives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Reeve Swainston.
A complaint is only an accusation. All criminal defendants are entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.