Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Heroin and Crack Trafficking Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Christopher Garcia, 42, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty on June 26, 2017, in federal court to drug trafficking charges. The plea agreement recommends that Garcia be sentenced to a term of imprisonment within the range of 180 to 240 months if the court determines that he is a career offender, and within the range of 120 to 150 months if the court determines that he is not.
Garcia was arrested on Dec. 3, 2015, on a four-count indictment charging him with drug trafficking offenses. The indictment was superseded on March 16, 2016, to include two additional charges. The superseding indictment charged Garcia with distributing heroin and crack cocaine on Aug. 7, 2015; distributing heroin on Aug. 11, 2015 and Sept. 10, 2015; possessing heroin with intent to distribute on Dec. 3, 2015; and distributing marijuana on Dec. 3, 2015. According to the superseding indictment, Garcia committed the offenses in Bernalillo County, N.M.
During the June 26, 2017, proceedings, Garcia pled guilty to three counts of distributing heroin, one count of distributing crack cocaine, and one count of possessing heroin with intent to distribute. In entering the guilty plea, Garcia admitted committing the following drug trafficking crimes:
Selling approximately 49.6 grams of heroin and 23.96 grams of crack cocaine to an individual working with law enforcement on Aug. 7, 2015;
Selling approximately 76.3 grams of heroin to an individual working with law enforcement on Aug. 11, 2015;
Selling approximately 148.8 grams of heroin to an undercover law enforcement agent on Sept. 10, 2015; and
Possessing approximately 200 grams of heroin at a relative’s house on Dec. 3, 2015, which he intended to distribute to others.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, New Mexico Corrections Department, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department and the HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office under a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
The HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of officers from the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, HSI and the New Mexico State Police. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.
The case also is being prosecuted 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.