Albuquerque Couple Arrested on Federal Indictment Alleging Prescription Drug Trafficking Scheme
Defendants Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Two residents of Albuquerque, N.M., have been arrested on a federal indictment alleging prescription drug trafficking charges, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of DEA’s El Paso Division, and Chief Patrick Gallagher of the Santa Fe Police Department (SFPD).
Yvonne Garcia, 54, and Gerald Roberts, 49, were arrested yesterday on a nine-count indictment charging them with participating in a conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs including oxycodone, oxymorphone and alprazolam. The couple made their initial appearances in federal court this morning, and remain in custody pending arraignment and detention hearings scheduled for Friday morning.
According to the indictment, the defendants distributed prescription drugs on eight separate occasions, twice in Santa Fe County and six times in Bernalillo County, N.M., between May 2016 and Sept. 2016. The indictment includes forfeiture provisions requiring Garcia and Roberts to forfeit $15,500, representing proceeds of their alleged drug trafficking scheme. It also seeks forfeiture of three vehicles – 2016 Toyota Camry, a 2016 Toyota Tacoma and a 2013 BMW motorcycle – which allegedly were used by Garcia and Roberts to facilitate their trafficking activities.
If convicted on the charges in the indictment, Garcia and Roberts each face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Charges in indictments are merely accusations, and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Tactical Diversion Squad of the DEA in Albuquerque and the SFPD investigated this case. DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squads combine DEA resources with those of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an innovative effort to investigate, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of violating the Controlled Substances Act or other appropriate federal, state or local statutes pertaining to the diversion of licit pharmaceutical controlled substances or listed chemicals.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shana B. Long and Peter Eicker are prosecuting this case as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative was launched in January 2015 by the UNM Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in response to the national opioid epidemic, which has had a disproportionately devastating impact on New Mexico. Opioid addiction has taken a toll on public safety, public health and the economic viability of our communities. Working in partnership with the DEA, the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC), the Albuquerque Public Schools and other community stakeholders, HOPE’s principal goals are to protect our communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioid painkillers and reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in New Mexico.
The HOPE Initiative is comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. HOPE’s law enforcement component is led by the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA in conjunction with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners. Targeting members of major heroin and opioid trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative. Learn more about the New Mexico HOPE Initiative at http://www.HopeInitiativeNM.org.