Felon from Belen Sentenced to Eight Years for Unlawful Possession of Body Armor and Oxycodone Trafficking
Romero Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative Which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Barry Romero, 38, of Belen, N.M, was sentenced today in Albuquerque, N.M., to eight years in federal prison for his conviction on unlawfully possessing body armor and oxycodone trafficking charges. Romero will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.
Romero was prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets violent, repeat 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 offenders with the goal of making communities in New Mexico safer places for people to live and work.
Romero was arrested on Sept. 28, 2016, on a two-count indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possession of body armor by a felon who had been convicted of a crime of violence. Romero committed the crimes on Nov. 10, 2015, in Valencia County, N.M. At the time, Romero was prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition or body armor because of his prior felony convictions.
On Jan. 12, 2018, Romero pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of body armor by a felon who has been convicted of a crime of violence and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute. In entering the guilty plea, Romero admitted that on Nov. 10, 2015, he was arrested at his residence in Belen, by Deputy U.S. Marshals who had a warrant for Romero’s arrest on a parole violation. During the execution of a search warrant on Romero’s residence incident to his arrest, law enforcement agents located body armor, two handgun cases, ammunition, oxycodone, and drug paraphernalia. Romero also admitted possessing the oxycodone with the intention of distributing it to others. Romero acknowledged that he was convicted of armed robbery in 2005, prior to unlawfully obtaining the body armor.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Cairns 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.