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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 9, 2015

Arizona Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Narcotics Trafficking Charges in New Mexico

Defendant Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduces the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Serina Josephina Rivera, 27, of Sells, Ariz., entered a guilty plea yesterday in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to methamphetamine and heroin trafficking charges under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Rivera and co-defendant Anna Maria Rodriguez, 32, of Phoenix, Ariz., were arrested on April 25, 2014, and charged in a criminal complaint with possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute in Bernalillo County, N.M.  According to the complaint, New Mexico State Police recovered bundles containing 5.9 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.8 pounds of heroin which were concealed in the vehicle that Rivera and Rodriguez were driving during a routine traffic stop.

Rivera and Rodriguez were subsequently charged in a three-count indictment that was filed on May 21, 2014.  The indictment charged the two women with (1) conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine, (2) possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and (3) possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on April 25, 2014, in Bernalillo County.

During yesterday’s proceedings, Rivera pled guilty to the two counts of the indictment charging her with possession of heroin and methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  Rivera admitted that she and Rodriguez were stopped by law enforcement in New Mexico on April 25, 2014, while driving a vehicle containing five packages of methamphetamine and two packages of heroin from Phoenix, Ariz., to Dallas, Texas.

Rodriguez pled guilty to the same charges on June 5, 2015.  At sentencing Rivera and Rodriguez each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison followed by not less than three years of supervised release.  Sentencing hearings have yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the New Mexico State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Meyers is prosecuting the case.

This case was prosecuted pursuant to the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative.  The HOPE Initiative is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center that is partnering with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the overriding goal of reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in the District of New Mexico.  The HOPE Initiative comprised of five components:  (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning.  The law enforcement component of the HOPE Initiative 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 trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative.

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Updated July 9, 2015