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Press Release

U.S. Citizen Residing in Mexico Pleads Guilty to Federal Heroin Trafficking Charges in New Mexico

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 – Vicenta Ramona Garcia, 29, a U.S. citizen, who resides in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to heroin trafficking charges under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office. 

Garcia and her codefendant Guadalupe Ofelia Lopez-Vasquez, 59, a Mexican national, who also resides in San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, were arrested in Dec. 2015, after DEA agents 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 had heat-sealed bundles of heroin strapped to their backs and waists.   

Garcia and Lopez-Vasquez were indicted on Dec. 17, 2015, and charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession of heroin with intent to distribute on Dec. 9, 2015, in Bernalillo County, N.M.

During today’s proceedings, Garcia pled guilty to a felony information charging her with conspiracy and possession of heroin with intent to distribute.  Garcia admitted that on Dec. 9, 2015, she and Lopez-Vasquez transported heroin from Phoenix, Ariz., to New Mexico on the Greyhound Bus by concealing heat-sealed bundles of heroin underneath their clothing.  Garcia further admitted that the two women intended to give the drugs to another person when they reached their final destination of Columbus, Ohio. 

Lopez-Vasquez pled guilty to similar charges on April 1, 2016. 

At sentencing, Garcia and Lopez-Vasquez each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.  Both women remain in custody pending sentencing hearings which have yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo R. Armijo is prosecuting the 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 Bernalillo County, DEA, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC) 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

Updated April 13, 2016

Drug Trafficking