Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of Fentanyl Trafficking Crime
Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Jeremy Brown, 26, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to violating the federal firearms laws by possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In entering the guilty plea, Brown admitted possessing a loaded firearm on May 1, 2017, to facilitate his fentanyl trafficking activities.
The DEA arrested Brown in May 2017, and charged him with possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on May 1, 2017. According to the complaint, DEA agents found marijuana, cocaine, methadone, $700, and several counterfeit oxycodone pills in Brown’s vehicle incident to his arrest following an investigation into Brown for suspected drug trafficking activity. The complaint alleged that the DEA previously had found that similar counterfeit oxycodone pills contained fentanyl or a combination of fentanyl and other substances.
Brown and co-defendant Crystal Campos, 33, also of Albuquerque, subsequently were charged in a five-count indictment on May 24, 2017, with drug trafficking and firearms offenses. The indictment charged Brown and Campos with conspiring to distribute controlled substances from March 9, 2017 through March 11, 2017. The indictment charged Campos with distributing a controlled substance on March 10, 2017 and Brown with distributing a Schedule II controlled substance on March 10, 2017. It also charged Brown with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on May 1, 2017. The indictment alleged that the defendants committed the crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Brown pled guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In entering the guilty plea, Brown admitted that on May 1, 2017, the DEA arrested him as he was attempting to meet with an individual for the purpose of selling pills containing fentanyl. Brown admitted that when he was arrested, he consented to a search of his vehicle where DEA agents found metal canisters containing fentanyl pills and a loaded firearm. Brown acknowledged that he intended to distribute the fentanyl pills to others and that he used the firearm for protection during drug trafficking transactions.
At sentencing, Brown faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of life in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter J. Eicker 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.