Las Cruces Man Sentenced to Five Years for Federal Heroin Trafficking Conviction
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., was sentenced today in federal court to 60 months in prison for his conviction on a heroin trafficking charge. Valenciano will be on supervised release for four years following his prison sentence.
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, the proceeds of the drug trafficking charged, to the United States.
On March 24, 2016, Valenciano pled guilty to conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute. In entering the guilty plea, he 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.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis A. Martinez of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office 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 http://www.HopeInitiativeNM.org.