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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

California Man Pleads Guilty to Heroin Trafficking Charge in New Mexico

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Darmarvis Marquel Lee, 30, of San Bernardino, Calif., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a heroin trafficking charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lee was arrested on Aug. 22, 2014, at the Amtrak Train Station in Albuquerque after a consensual search of his baggage by DEA agents revealed that he was carrying approximately 2.28 kilograms of heroin concealed in a false compartment. Lee subsequently was indicted on Sept. 9, 2014, and charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

During today’s proceedings, Lee pled guilty to the indictment.  In his plea agreement, Lee admitted that on Aug. 22, 2014, while on an Amtrak train and during a stop in Albuquerque, law enforcement officers recovered two wrapped bundles containing heroin from his baggage. Lee admitted that he was paid to transport and deliver the drugs.

At sentencing, Lee faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison.  Lee was remanded into federal custody after entering his guilty plea.  He remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Interdiction Unit of the DEA’s Albuquerque office which focuses on disrupting the flow of narcotics, weapons, and the proceeds of illegal activities as they are smuggled into or through New Mexico in passenger buses, passenger trains, commercial vehicles and automobiles.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo Armijo is prosecuting the case.

This case is being 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 May 5, 2015