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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

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

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Gonzalo Montenegro-Coronel, 27, a Mexican national, was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 84 months in prison for his conviction on heroin trafficking charges.  Montenegro-Coronel will be deported after completing his prison sentence.

Montenegro-Coronel and his four co-defendants, Esther Ordonez, 48, Miguel Ordonez, 24, and Reydecel Lopez-Ordonez, 24, all of Albuquerque, and Fernando Gomez-Campos, 22, of El Paso, Texas, were charged in a 13-count indictment that was filed on Dec. 2, 2015.  The indictment charged the defendants with participating in a heroin trafficking conspiracy between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2015, with distributing heroin on eight occasions between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2015, and with using telephones to facilitate drug trafficking crimes.  It also charged Esther Ordonez, Miguel Ordonez and Montenegro-Coronel with maintaining a residence for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing heroin between Nov. 2014 and Sept. 2015.  According to the indictment, the defendants committed the crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.

On Nov. 8, 2017, Montenegro-Coronel pled guilty to distributing heroin, three counts of using a communication device in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and maintaining a drug-involved premises.  In entering the guilty plea, Montenegro-Coronel admitted that from Nov. 10, 2014 through Sept. 23, 2015, he participated in a heroin trafficking conspiracy by ordering bulk quantities of heroin from Mexico, which was then prepared and distributed to buyers in the Albuquerque area by his co-defendants.  Specifically, Montenegro-Coronel admitted that on March 19, 2015 and March 27, 2015, he supplied quantities of heroin to his co-defendants for distribution to buyers.  Montenegro-Coronel further admitted that on April 28, 2015 and May 18, 2015, he ordered and obtained bulk shipments of heroin from Mexico.  Montenegro-Coronel admitted that throughout the conspiracy, he stored, cut and packaged heroin at a residence in Albuquerque.

All of Montenegro-Coronel’s co-defendants have entered guilty pleas and three have been sentenced.  Lopez-Ordonez pled guilty on Oct. 19, 2016, and was sentenced to 60 months of imprisonment followed by four years of supervised release on March 30, 2017.  Miguel Ordonez pled guilty on April 24, 2017, and was sentenced on Aug. 15, 2017, to 70 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release.  Gomez-Campos pled guilty on March 10, 2017, and was sentenced on Nov. 2, 2017, to 18 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.  Esther Ordonez pled guilty on April 12, 2017, and has yet to be sentenced. 

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the HIDTA Region I Drug Task Force as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program, which combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.  The HIDTA Region I Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Albuquerque Police Department, Rio Rancho Police Department, Valencia County Sheriff’s Office, Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Police Department and DEA.  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. Attorneys Shaheen P. Torgoley, Stephen R. Kotz and Peter Eicker are prosecuting this case 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 March 6, 2018