Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms and Heroin Trafficking Laws
Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Gerald Herrera, 30, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to violating the federal firearms and narcotics laws.
Herrera was arrested on April 7, 2016, on an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. According to the indictment, Herrera committed the offenses on July 8, 2015, in Bernalillo County, N.M. Herrera was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, tampering with evidence, possession of cocaine, homicide by vehicle and auto burglary.
During today’s proceedings, Herrera pled guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. In entering the guilty plea, Herrera admitted that on July 8, 2015, Albuquerque Police Department (APD) officers found a firearm, ammunition and individually packaged bags of heroin and methamphetamine on him and in his vehicle when he was the subject of a traffic stop.
At sentencing, Herrera faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the heroin charge as well as a statutory mandatory penalty of at least five years for the firearms charge which must be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. Herrera remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the APD. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo R. Armijo is 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.