Two Women Arrested on Federal Drug Trafficking Charges for Allegedly Transporting Fifteen Pounds of Heroin
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Two women made their initial appearances this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging them with possession of approximately 15 pounds of heroin with intent to distribute. Vicenta Ramona Garcia, 28, a U.S. citizen, and Guadalupe Ofelia Lopez-Vasquez, 59, a Mexican national, both of whom reside in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, remain in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing which are scheduled for Dec. 14, 2015.
Garcia and Lopez-Vasquez were arrested yesterday after DEA agents allegedly seized approximately 15 pounds of heroin from them during consensual searches at the Greyhound Bus Station in Albuquerque. According to the criminal complaint, both women allegedly had heat-sealed bundles of substances that tested positive for heroin strapped to their backs and waists.
If convicted on the charges in the criminal complaint, Garcia and Lopez-Vasquez each face a statutory penalty of a mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of life 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 Interdiction Unit of the DEA’s Albuquerque office which focuses on disrupting the flow of narcotics, weapons, and the proceeds of illegal activities as they are smuggled into or through New Mexico in passenger buses, passenger trains, commercial vehicles and automobiles. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo R. Armijo is prosecuting 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 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 December 10, 2015