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Justice News

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

Valencia County Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Heroin Trafficking Conviction

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Erik Molinar-Gonzalez, 32, of Los Lunas, N.M., was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 70 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his heroin trafficking conviction. 

Molinar-Gonzalez was arrested in Sept. 2015, and was charged by criminal complaint with heroin and methamphetamine trafficking offenses.  According to the complaint, on Sept. 9, 2015, New Mexico State Police (NMSP) officers found a kilogram of heroin in a vehicle during a traffic stop on Interstate 40 in Albuquerque.  Investigation revealed that the heroin was to be delivered to Molinar-Gonzalez later that same day.  Later that day, agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and NMSP officers arrested Molinar-Gonzalez and executed searches of his vehicle and residence.  The officers found 7.35 grams of methamphetamine in his vehicle and 45.5 grams of methamphetamine and 9.17 grams of heroin in his residence.

Molinar-Gonzalez was indicted on Oct. 7, 2015, and charged possessing heroin and methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  On Jan. 12, 2016, Molinar-Gonzalez pled guilty to possessing heroin with intent to distribute.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI and the NMSP.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Walsh prosecuted 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 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.  Learn more about the New Mexico HOPE Initiative at

Drug Trafficking
Updated May 27, 2016