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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Heroin Trafficking Charges

Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Reydecel Lopez-Ordonez, 23, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty yesterday in federal court to heroin trafficking charges.

Lopez-Ordonez and his co-defendants Gonzalo Montenegro-Coronel, 31, a Mexican national, Esther Ordonez, 48, and Miguel Ordonez, 23, both of Albuquerque, and Fernando Gomez-Campos, 21, of El Paso, Texas, were charged in a 13-count indictment that was filed on Dec. 2, 2015.  The indictment charged the five defendants with participating in a heroin trafficking conspiracy between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2015.  The indictment also included charged certain defendants with distributing heroin on eight occasions between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2015, and with using telephones to facilitate drug trafficking crimes.  Additionally, it charged Esther Ordonez, Miguel Ordonez and Montenegro-Coronel with maintaining a residence for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing heroin between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2015.  According to the indictment, the defendants committed the crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.

The indictment included forfeiture provisions requiring the defendants to forfeit $53,760 and a residence located in southwest Albuquerque to the United States. 

During today’s proceedings, Lopez-Ordonez pled guilty to one count of distributing heroin and two counts of using a communication device to further the commission of a drug trafficking crime.  In entering the guilty plea, Lopez-Ordonez admitted that on March 19, 2015 and June 10, 2015, he used a telephone to arrange heroin sales.  Lopez-Ordonez further admitted that on July 9 and 10, 2015, he sold 568 grams of heroin to an undercover law enforcement agent in exchange for $26,000.

At sentencing, Lopez-Ordonez faces a statutory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison.  He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Lopez-Ordonez will forfeit more than $10,000 in drug proceeds to the United States.  He also agrees to forfeit any right, title or interest he may have in a residence in southwest Albuquerque.

Lopez-Ordonez’s co-defendants have entered not guilty pleas to the indictment and are pending trial.  Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the HIDTA Region I Drug Task Force as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program, which combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.  The HIDTA Region I Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Albuquerque Police Department, Rio Rancho Police Department, Valencia County Sheriff’s Office, Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Police Department and DEA.  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.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shaheen P. Torgoley and Stephen R. Kotz 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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated October 21, 2016