Previously Deported Mexican National Arrested on Federal Heroin Trafficking and Illegal Reentry Charges
Charges Arising out of 28-Pound Heroin Seizure to be Prosecuted Under HOPE Initiative that Seeks to Reduce Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Leslye Beltran-Paez, 34, a previously deported Mexican national, made her initial appearance this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on heroin trafficking and illegal reentry charges arising out of a seizure of more than 28 pounds of heroin on Dec. 1, 2016.
Beltran-Paez was arrested on Dec. 1, 2016, after law enforcement agents in Cibola County, N.M., allegedly seized approximately 13 kilograms (28.66 pounds) of heroin from the moving truck in which Beltran-Paez was traveling. According to the complaint, the heroin was allegedly contained in ten wrapped bundles inside a kitchen stove in the back of the moving truck. Court documents also indicate that Beltran-Paez was previously deported from the United States on June 10, 2001 and has not received permission to reenter.
Beltran-Paez remains in federal custody pending preliminary and detention hearings, which are currently scheduled for Dec. 5, 2016. If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Beltran-Paez faces a statutory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison for the heroin trafficking charge and a maximum penalty of two years in federal prison for the illegal reentry of a removed alien charge. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the New Mexico State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado is 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.