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Press Release

Arizona Man Pleads Guilty to Heroin Trafficking Charge Arising Out of Four-Pound Heroin Seizure in New Mexico

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

ALBUQUERQUE –Sergio Marin Ambriz, 21, of Phoenix, Ariz., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a heroin trafficking charge arising out of a DEA seizure of more than four pounds of heroin in Jan. 2016.

Ambriz was arrested on Jan. 20, 2016, and was charged in a criminal complaint with a heroin trafficking offense after the DEA seized approximately 1.90 kilograms (4.18 pounds) of heroin from him during an interdiction investigation at the Greyhound Bus Station in Albuquerque.  The heroin was contained in three bundles that were concealed inside a pair of jeans in Ambriz’s luggage.

Ambriz was subsequently indicted on Feb. 9, 2016, and charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute on Jan. 20, 2016, in Bernalillo County, N.M.

During today’s proceedings, Ambriz pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.  In entering the guilty plea, Ambriz admitted transporting heroin from Phoenix, Ariz., to New Mexico on a Greyhound bus by concealing the heroin in his luggage.  Ambriz further admitted that he had intended to deliver the heroin to Tulsa, Okla.

Ambriz remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, he faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers 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, Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, Albuquerque City Councilor Diane Gibson, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC) 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 May 13, 2016

Drug Trafficking