ALBUQUERQUE – Angelica Denise De La O, 26, of Lake Elsinore, Calif., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a heroin trafficking charge. De La O entered the guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement.
The DEA arrested De La O in Aug. 2017, after seizing approximately 4.9 kilograms (10.8 pounds) of heroin from her luggage during an interdiction investigation on Aug. 10, 2017, in Albuquerque. De La O was indicted on Sept. 6, 2017, and was charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute on Aug. 10, 2017, in Bernalillo County, N.M.
At sentencing, De La O faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison. She remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eva Fontanez 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, the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC), the Albuquerque Public Schools 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.