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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mexican National Sentenced for Conviction on Federal Heroin and Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Lorenzo A. Ruiz-Gonzalez, 26, entered a guilty plea to heroin and methamphetamine trafficking charges today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M.  Immediately thereafter, Ruiz-Gonzales was sentenced to 70 months of imprisonment.  He will be deported after completing his prison sentence.

Ruiz-Gonzalez , a Mexican national who had been residing in El Paso, Texas, was arrested in July 2017, after New Mexico State Police (NMSP) officers found approximately 1,061.1 grams of methamphetamine and 612 grams of heroin inside Ruiz-Gonzalez’s vehicle during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 10 in Dona Ana County, N.M. 

Today, Ruiz-Gonzalez pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute.  In entering the guilty plea, Ruiz-Gonzalez admitted that on July 13, 2017, he drove a vehicle containing approximately 856.8 grams of methamphetamine and 493 grams of heroin.  Ruiz-Gonzalez admitted that he was in the process of delivering the drugs to another when he was pulled over by law enforcement for a traffic violation.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the NMSP.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock E. Taylor 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.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Component(s): 
Updated April 5, 2018