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Justice News

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mexican National Sentenced to 77 Months for Federal Narcotics Trafficking Conviction

Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Teodulfo Sanchez-Lopez, 24, of Sinaloa, Mexico, was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 77 months in prison for his methamphetamine and heroin trafficking conviction.  Sanchez-Lopez will be deported after he completes his prison sentence.

Sanchez-Lopez was arrested on May 4, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy and possession of heroin and methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  According to the complaint, law enforcement agents executed a search warrant on a storage locker on March 13, 2014, in Roswell, N.M., where they found 439.9 grams of methamphetamine and 290.6 grams of heroin.  The complaint alleged that further investigation revealed that Sanchez-Lopez had packaged the methamphetamine and heroin found in the storage locker.

Sanchez-Lopez was subsequently indicted on July 23, 2015, and charged with conspiracy to possess heroin and methamphetamine with intent to distribute in Jan. 2014.  Sanchez-Lopez pled guilty to the indictment on Sept. 4, 2015, and admitted that on March 13, 2014, law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at a storage facility where they located bags containing 439 grams of methamphetamine and 290 grams of heroin.  Sanchez-Lopez further admitted that his fingerprints were on the packaging of the methamphetamine and heroin, and that he packaged the narcotics in Phoenix, Ariz., in Jan. 2014, for distribution by others.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force.  The HIDTA Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Roswell Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the Chaves County Sherriff’s Office.  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.  HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Terri J. Abernathy of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office prosecuted the case as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (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 Bernalillo County, the Albuquerque City Council, DEA, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC) 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.

Drug Trafficking
Updated April 25, 2016