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Press Release

Albuquerque Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Sara Marie Martinez, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court to an indictment charging her with heroin and methamphetamine trafficking offenses.  Martinez entered the guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement.  Co-defendant Ernest Cordova, 44, also of Albuquerque, previously pled guilty to the indictment in March 2016.

Martinez and Cordova were charged in March 2016 in a three-count indictment with heroin and methamphetamine trafficking offenses.  According to the indictment, Cordova conspired to distribute heroin and methamphetamine from Jan. 22, 2016 through Feb. 18, 2016 and Cordova and Martinez possessed heroin and methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Feb. 18, 2016.  The indictment alleged that they committed the crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.  The indictment included forfeiture provisions requiring Cordova and Martinez to forfeit $8,840.27 to the United States.

According to court documents, DEA agents observed Cordova engage in several drug deals in the Albuquerque-area between Jan. 22, 2016 and Feb. 18, 2016.  During the execution of a search warrant on Cordova’s residence on Feb. 18, 2016, the DEA found 134 grams of heroin and 82 grams of methamphetamine. 

At sentencing, Martinez and Cordova each face a statutory minimum of five years and maximum of 40 years in federal prison.  Martinez and Cordova remain in custody pending sentencing hearings.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander M. Uballez 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

Updated August 9, 2016

Drug Trafficking