Albuquerque Couple Plead Guilty to Prescription Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering Charges
Defendants Agree to Forfeit $87,000 in Cash and Three Vehicles; Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Yvonne Garcia, 54, and Gerald Roberts, 49, a married couple from Albuquerque, N.M., entered guilty pleas today in federal court to drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Under the terms of the plea agreements, Garcia will be sentenced to 46 months in prison and Roberts will be sentenced to 51 months in prison followed by terms of supervised release to be determined by the court.
The plea agreements also require Garcia and Roberts to forfeit the proceeds of their criminal conduct, including more than $87,000 in cash seized from the couple’s bank accounts and safe deposit box, and a 2016 Toyota Camry, a 2016 Toyota Tacoma truck and a 2013 BMW motorcycle.
Garcia and Roberts were arrested in Sept. 2016, on an eight-count indictment charging them with trafficking controlled substances in Bernalillo County, N.M. Garcia and Roberts were charged with conspiring to distribute oxycodone, oxymorphone and alprazolam from May 2016 through Sept. 2016. The indictment also charged the couple with distributing oxycodone on three separate occasions in May, June and July 2016; distributing oxymorphone on four occasions in May, June, July and Sept. 2016; and distributing alprazolam in July 2016. The indictment included forfeiture provisions requiring Garcia and Roberts to forfeit proceeds of their drug trafficking activities, including $15,500 and three vehicles, to the United States.
During today’s proceedings, Garcia and Roberts each pled guilty to the conspiracy charged in the indictment and to felony informations charging them with conspiring to launder drug proceeds. According to the plea agreement, between May 2016 and Sept. 2016, Garcia and Roberts sold oxycodone, oxymorphone and alprazolam to an individual who unbeknownst to them was an undercover DEA agent. Garcia and Roberts deposited the proceeds of their illegal drug transactions into Wells Fargo checking and savings accounts in amounts that would not trigger currency-reporting requirements that could alert law enforcement authorities to their illegal activities. Garcia and Roberts used the drug proceeds in the bank accounts to make payments on their residential mortgage and vehicle loans.
Garcia and Roberts remain in custody pending sentencing hearings, which have yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shana B. Long and Peter J. Eicker are prosecuting the 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.