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Press Release

Las Cruces Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Heroin Trafficking Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Edward Valenciano, 38, of Las Cruces, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court to a heroin trafficking charge.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Valenciano will be sentenced to 60 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.

Valenciano was arrested in June 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to distribute heroin on June 11, 2015, in Doña Ana County, N.M.  The complaint alleged that Valenciano was involved in the sale of approximately 353.4 grams of heroin to an individual working with law enforcement. 

Valenciano was subsequently indicted on Oct. 15, 2015, and charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin from June 3 through 16, 2015, and possession of heroin with intent to distribute on June 16, 2015.  The indictment included forfeiture allegations requiring Valenciano to forfeit $6,000, proceeds of the drug trafficking charged, to the United States.

During today’s proceedings, Valenciano pled guilty to conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute and admitted that on June 3, 2015, he directed another individual to provide heroin to a person who unbeknownst to him was working with law enforcement.  Valenciano further admitted that on June 11, 2015, he accepted $6,000 from the same person in payment for the heroin provided on June 3, 2015.

Valenciano remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis A. Martinez of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office pursuant to the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative.  The HOPE Initiative is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center that is partnering with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the overriding goal of reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in the District of New Mexico.  The HOPE Initiative comprised of five components:  (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning.  The law enforcement component of the HOPE Initiative 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.

Updated March 24, 2016

Drug Trafficking