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Press Release

Previously Deported Mexican National Sentenced to Five Years for Federal Heroin Trafficking Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Juan Reyes-Abarca, 31, a Mexican national from Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, illegally residing in Albuquerque, N.M, was sentenced this morning in federal court in Santa Fe, N.M., to 70 months in prison for his heroin trafficking conviction.  He will be deported after completing his prison sentence. 

Reyes-Abarca was arrested on April 3, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with unlawfully reentering the United States after being convicted of an aggravated felony.  According to the criminal complaint, Reyes-Abarca was arrested in Bernalillo County, N.M., while driving another person to retrieve heroin.  It further alleged that Reyes-Abarca was deported in Dec. 2006, after he was convicted on state heroin trafficking charges in Bernalillo County.  Reyes-Abarca subsequently was indicted and charged with conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin.

On May 14, 2015, Reyes-Abarca pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin.  In his plea agreement, Reyes-Abarca admitted that in Jan. 2014, he joined a conspiracy that acquired and distributed heroin in Bernalillo County.  His role in the conspiracy was to order and obtain heroin from suppliers and he frequently “processed bulk heroin received from suppliers by ‘cutting’ or diluting the heroin with sugar or other inert substances, dividing the … heroin into smaller portions, and re-packaging the heroin into small plastic bags for further distribution.”  Reyes-Abarca also admitted that he also delivered and sold heroin himself. 

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy S. Vasquez 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 February 18, 2016

Drug Trafficking