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Justice News

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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mexican National Sentenced to Federal Prison for Heroin Trafficking Conviction in New Mexico

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Tomas Bustamante-Machado, 51, a Mexican national who had been illegally residing in Phoenix, Ariz., was sentenced today in Albuquerque, N.M., to 41 months in federal prison for his heroin trafficking conviction.  He will be deported after he completes his prison sentence. 

Bustamante-Machado was arrested on Jan. 16, 2015, in Bernalillo County, N.M., after the New Mexico State Police found approximately 1286 grams (2.8 pounds) of heroin hidden in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop.  The heroin was concealed in an altered compartment in the back seat of Bustamante-Machado’s vehicle.   According to court documents, at the time of his arrest, Bustamante-Machado was out of prison on an immigration bond pending a deportation hearing.  Bustamante-Machado subsequently was indicted on Feb. 10, 2015, and charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

On March 17, 2015, Bustamante-Machado pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that on Jan. 16, 2015, while traveling from Phoenix, he was stopped by law enforcement and found to be in possession of more than one kilogram of heroin which had been concealed in a secret compartment in the vehicle he was driving.  He further admitted that the heroin was intended for another person.

This case was investigated by the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (the BEST Team) of the Albuquerque office of HSI and the New Mexico State Police.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Pflugrath as 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 June 15, 2015