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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rio Rancho Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Heroin Trafficking and Firearms Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Mark Herrera, 29, of Rio Rancho, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 70 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on heroin trafficking and firearms charges.

Herrera was arrested in Aug. 2014, on a criminal complaint after officers executed federal search warrants on his vehicle and residence and seized more than seven ounces of heroin, marijuana, approximately $5,000.00 in cash, a firearm and ammunition, and drug paraphernalia.  In his post-arrest statement, Herrera told the officers that he sold six to eight ounces of heroin every two to three days, and that he used a firearm for protection.

On Feb. 13, 2015, Herrera pled guilty to a two-count felony information charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.  In entering the guilty plea, Herrera admitted that when he was arrested on Aug. 1, 2014, he possessed approximately seven ounces of heroin, drug paraphernalia, $5,000.00 in cash, and a loaded semi-automatic pistol.  At the time of his arrest, Herrera was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of robbery and escape in Colorado.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque offices of the ATF and the DEA and the Rio Rancho Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Presiliano Torrez prosecuted the case.

This case is being prosecuted pursuant to the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative.  The HOPE Initiative is a collaboration 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 May 13, 2015