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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 30, 2015

DEA Augments Tactical Diversion Squad with Officers from Santa Fe and Albuquerque Police Departments

Expansion is Part of the HOPE Initiative that Seeks to Address Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – The Albuquerque office of the DEA has expanded its Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS) to include two Santa Fe Police Department officers and an Albuquerque Police Department officer.  DEA’s TDSs combine DEA resources with those of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an innovative effort to investigate, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of violating the Controlled Substances Act or other appropriate federal, state or local statutes pertaining to the diversion of licit pharmaceutical controlled substances or listed chemicals.

The expansion of the TDS in Albuquerque was undertaken as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative, which was launched earlier this month to address New Mexico’s heroin and opioid crisis.  The HOPE Initiative is a collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center working in partnership with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the overriding goal of reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in Mexico.  The Initiative is comprised of five components:  (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning.

 “New Mexico’s opioid addiction and overdose death rates have been at or near the top of the national scale for years,” said U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez.  “We are pleased to have local officers from communities hardest hit by this crisis join our efforts to take on this deadly epidemic.”

Assistant Special Agent in Charge Sean R. Waite said, “DEA’s efforts in New Mexico are impossible without the support of our local partners.  We value the relationships we have developed with the Santa Fe and Albuquerque Police Departments.  Together we will continue to attack heroin and opioid trafficking in our communities.”

“The Santa Fe Police Department is committed to being part of this multi-agency response to a vicious epidemic that has trapped too many New Mexicans in a vicious cycle of drugs, criminality, incarceration and death,” said Santa Fe Police Chief Eric Garcia.  “We will work aggressively with our partners on the DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad to keep our streets safe and our children free from drug addiction and abuse.”

“Heroin deaths have reached epidemic levels in the state,” said Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden E. Eden.  “The Drug Enforcement Agency has expanded its tactical diversion task force to target heroin dealers and the diversion of licit pharmaceuticals.  This expanded partnership will also focus on prevention, education and restoring our communities.”

The newly-expanded TDS will focus its efforts on the prevention and education and law enforcement components of the HOPE Initiative.  On the law enforcement front, the TDS will investigate violations of the Controlled Substances Act and other laws pertaining to the diversion of controlled substance pharmaceuticals.  It will prioritize investigating, disrupting and dismantling individuals and organizations involved in diversion schemes (e.g., “doctor shopping,” prescription forgery rings, and doctors or pharmacists who illegally diverts prescription controlled substances.  The TDS’s efforts on the prevention and education front will include educating medical professionals about how prescription drug trafficking and abuse contributes to New Mexico’s heroin and opioid epidemic, and making presentations on the dangers of prescription drug abuse to teenagers and their parents.

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Updated February 5, 2015