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Press Release

Career Offender from Carlsbad Sentenced to Ten Years for Federal Heroin and Cocaine Trafficking Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Prosecution Brought under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative and HOPE Initiative, which Seeks to Reduce Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Sylvester Hall, 55, of Carlsbad, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 120 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his heroin and crack cocaine trafficking conviction.


Hall, a career offender whose criminal history includes at least three prior drug trafficking convictions, was prosecuted under a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.


Hall was arrested on March 12, 2015, on a criminal complaint alleging heroin and crack cocaine trafficking offenses. According to the complaint, law enforcement agents located approximately 213.64 grams of heroin, 31.7 grams of crack cocaine, 100.7 grams of marijuana and $15,080.26 in cash inside a storage unit owned by Hall.


Hall was subsequently indicted on July 23, 2015, and charged with possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to distribute. According to the indictment, the offenses were committed on Feb. 10, 2015, in Eddy County, N.M. Hall entered a guilty plea to the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement on Nov. 10, 2016.


This case was investigated by the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force which is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Artesia Police Department and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.


The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office 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. Learn more about the New Mexico HOPE Initiative at

Updated August 15, 2017

Drug Trafficking