ALBUQUERQUE – Miguel Ordonez, 24, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to heroin trafficking charges.
Miguel Ordonez and his four co-defendants, Gonzalo Montenegro-Coronel, 31, a Mexican national, Esther Ordonez, 48, and Reydecel Lopez-Ordonez, 24, both of Albuquerque, and Fernando Gomez-Campos, 21, of El Paso, Tex., were charged in a 13-count indictment that was filed on Dec. 2, 2015. The indictment charged the defendants with participating in a heroin trafficking conspiracy between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2015, distributing heroin on eight occasions between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2015, and with using telephones to facilitate drug trafficking crimes. It also 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.
During today’s proceedings, Miguel Ordonez pled guilty to two counts of distributing heroin, using a communication facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and maintaining a drug involved premises. In entering the guilty plea, Miguel Ordonez admitted participating in telephone communications on March 27, 2015, in order to arrange heroin sales with individuals who unbeknownst to him were undercover agents. Miguel Ordonez admitted selling 148 grams of heroin for $4,200 on March 27, 2015, and 98 grams of heroin for $3,200 on May 7, 2015, to the undercover agent. He also admitted that from Nov. 10, 2014 and until his arrest in July 2015, he helped others store heroin for distribution at 2620 Katrina Dr. SW in Albuquerque.
At sentencing, Miguel Ordonez faces a statutory penalty of not less than five years nor more than 40 years of imprisonment. He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
To date, four of the five defendants have entered guilty pleas and one has been sentenced. Lopez-Ordonez pled guilty on Oct. 19, 2016, and was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release on March 30, 2017. Gomez-Campos pled guilty on March 10, 2017, and Esther Ordonez pled guilty on April 12, 2017. Gomez-Campos and Esther Ordonez have yet to be sentenced.
Montenegro-Coronel has entered a not guilty plea to the indictment and is 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.