California Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking Charge Arising Out of 9.5 Pound Heroin Seizure in New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE –Mario Arvizo Padron, Jr., 28, of Bakersfield, Calif., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a heroin trafficking charge arising out of a DEA seizure of more than nine and a half pounds of heroin in April 2015.
Padron was arrested in April 2015, and was charged in a criminal complaint with a heroin trafficking offense after the DEA seized approximately 4.35 kilograms (9.57 pounds) of heroin from him during an interdiction investigation at the Greyhound Bus Station in Albuquerque. The heroin was contained in bundles that were concealed inside the lining of Padron’s luggage
Padron was subsequently indicted on April 28, 2015, and charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute on April 2, 2015, in Bernalillo County, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Padron pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. In entering the guilty plea, Padron admitted that on April 2, 2015, DEA agents found heroin in his checked bag while he was traveling through Albuquerque on the Greyhound Bus.
Padron 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 Mysliwiec 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 Opioid Accountability Initiative, 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 http://www.HopeInitiativeNM.org.