California Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal 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 – Hunter Dwayne Fitzgerald, Jr., 22, of Los Angeles, Calif., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a heroin trafficking charge.
Fitzgerald was arrested on April 11, 2014, at the Amtrak Train Station in Albuquerque after DEA agents found almost a pound and a half of heroin concealed in her baggage during an interdiction investigation. Fitzgerald was subsequently indicted on May 7, 2014, and charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute on April 11, 2014, in Bernalillo County, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Fitzgerald pled guilty to the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement.
At sentencing, Fitzgerald faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing 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 R. 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.