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Justice News

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Former Corrections Officer Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring to Distribute Narcotics in Doña Ana County Detention Center

ALBUQUERQUE – A former corrections officer was sentenced this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., for conspiring to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine within the Doña Ana County Detention Center (DACDC).  Francisco Balderrama, 27, of El Paso, Texas, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Balderrama was arrested on Oct. 6, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and providing contraband in a prison facility.  The criminal complaint alleged that Balderrama conspired with co-defendants Virginia Aguirre, 54, and Delilah Morales, 23, both of Deming, N.M., and Brittany Huerta, 25, of Las Cruces to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the DACDC in June 2013.  An investigation by DACDC officers revealed that Balderrama was conspiring with Aguirre, Morales and Huerta to smuggle drugs and drug paraphernalia into the DACDC for two federal inmates who were being held at the Detention Center.  Balderrama, Aguirre, Huerta and Morales subsequently were indicted on Jan. 14, 2015, and charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Balderrama pled guilty to the indictment on March 31, 2015, and admitted that from June 3, 2013 through June 16, 2013, two inmates arranged for him to meet with Aguirre and Morales for the purpose of receiving a package containing drugs and other contraband together with a smuggling fee of $300.00 that was provided by Huerta.  Balderrama also admitted that on June 16, 2013, Morales delivered the package of drugs and drug paraphernalia to him, and that he delivered the drugs and contraband to two inmates who were being held at the DACDC.

Aguirre, Huerta and Morales also entered guilty pleas in March 2015.  Each admitted that from June 3, 2013 through June 16, 2013, they conspired with each other to provide a package containing heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other contraband to Balderrama on the evening of June 16, 2013, with the understanding that he would smuggle the package into the DACDC in exchange for a $300.00 fee.

Huerta was sentenced on June 9, 2015 to time served and a year of supervised release.  Morales is scheduled for sentencing on June 23, 2015;  Aguirre’s sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Morales and Aguirre each face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison followed by not less than three years of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Doña Ana County Detention Center and the New Mexico State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Edwin Garreth Winstead, III, is prosecuting the case.

Updated June 17, 2015