Texas Man Sentenced to Ten Years for Federal Heroin and Methamphetamine Trafficking Conviction in New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Jesus Gerardo Prieto, Jr., 39, of El Paso, Texas, was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 120 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for his conviction on heroin and methamphetamine trafficking charges.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Prieto in Oct. 2017, on heroin and methamphetamine trafficking offenses in Dona Ana County, N.M. Prieto was arrested at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Las Cruces after the agents seized approximately 432 grams of methamphetamine and 117 grams of heroin that were concealed inside Prieto’s vehicle.
Prieto subsequently was charged in a five-count indictment on Jan. 17, 2018, with distributing methamphetamine on Aug. 29, 2017, in Dona Ana County; distributing methamphetamine and heroin on Oct. 6, 2017, in Luna County, N.M.; and possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute on Oct. 19, 2017, in Dona Ana County. On Feb. 26, 2018, Prieto pled guilty to the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol and the Border Enforcement Security Taskforce of Homeland Security Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock E. Taylor of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office pursuant to 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.