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Justice News

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

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mexican National Sentenced to Federal Prison for Heroin Trafficking Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Patsy Vega-Montoya, 25, a Mexican national from Sonora, Mexico, was sentenced this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 41 months in federal prison.  Vega-Montoya will be deported after completing her term of imprisonment.

Vega-Montoya was arrested on Sept. 10, 2014, near Grants, N.M., after the New Mexico State Police found packages containing approximately 5.95 kilograms of heroin in her vehicle following a routine traffic stop.  Vega-Montoya subsequently was indicted on Sept. 23, 2014, and charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

On Dec. 8, 2014, Vega-Montoya pled guilty to a felony information charging her with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.  In entering her guilty plea, Vega-Montoya admitted that on Sept. 10, 2014, when she was stopped by New Mexico State Police, she gave the officers permission to search her vehicle.  During the search, the officers found 11 packages containing approximately 5.95 kilograms of heroin which Vega-Montoya was being paid to transport to Colorado.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and New Mexico State Police and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob A. Wishard.

This case was prosecuted 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 trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative.

Updated March 9, 2015