Mexican Nationals Facing Federal Heroin Trafficking Charges
Defendants Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative Which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Earlier today, a U.S. Magistrate Judge sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., found probable cause to support a criminal complaint charging Jose de Jesus Abundis-Gonzales, 36, and Norberto Perez-Zepeda, 33, both Mexican nationals illegally residing in the United States, with heroin trafficking charges. The Magistrate Judge also entered orders requiring that the two men remain in custody pending trial.
Abundis-Gonzales and Perez-Zepeda were arrested on Feb. 7, 2017, after DEA executed search warrants at the Albuquerque residences of Abundis-Gonzales and Perez-Zepeda and seized a total of 239 grams of heroin, more than $12,000 in cash, and drug paraphernalia. According to the criminal complaint, the heroin allegedly was packaged in small balloons, ready for retail distribution.
If convicted of the charge in the criminal complaint, Abundis-Gonzales and Perez-Zepeda each face a statutory minimum penalty of five years and maximum of 40 years in federal prison. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado is prosecuting the 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.