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Justice News

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

Monday, November 27, 2017

Carlsbad Man Sentenced to Seven Years for Federal Drug Trafficking Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Eric Anthony Lopez, 32, of Carlsbad, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 84 months in prison for his conviction on methamphetamine and heroin trafficking charges.  Lopez will be on supervised release for four years after completing his prison sentence. 


Lopez was arrested on March 31, 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with drug trafficking offenses on Oct. 28, 2015, in Eddy County, N.M.  According to the complaint, Lopez was arrested after law enforcement agents located approximately 461 grams of methamphetamine, 39 grams of heroin and $5,620 in cash in Lopez’s vehicle during the execution of a search warrant.


On June 5, 2017, Lopez pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute.  In entering his guilty plea, Lopez admitted that on Oct. 28, 2015, law enforcement found approximately 461 grams of methamphetamine and 39 grams of heroin during a search of his vehicle.  Lopez further admitted that he possessed the methamphetamine and heroin with the intent to distribute the substances to other individuals. 


This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force.  The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force 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.


Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Saltman of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office prosecuted 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.  Learn more about the New Mexico HOPE Initiative at

Drug Trafficking
Updated November 27, 2017