The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office says it has seen a dramatic rise in drug trafficking cases involving fentanyl. Courtesy photo
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE NEWS
Over the last few months, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office has seen a dramatic rise in drug trafficking cases involving fentanyl. Fentanyl, a narcotic drug created to treat severe pain in cancer patients, is highly addictive and extremely deadly. Most drug overdoses from illegally manufactured fentanyl arise when drug traffickers mix fentanyl with other drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, or cocaine. Often, the users do not know they are consuming fentanyl because fentanyl can be disguised as other narcotic drugs in pill form. A local Narcotics Agent stated, “fentanyl and the dangerousness that arises from fentanyl trafficking creates a serious threat to our community. Fentanyl is just as prevalent in our community as heroin, and unfortunately, it is more powerful, more accessible, and much more dangerous.”
The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office has been working with both state and federal law enforcement agencies to prosecute those involved in drug trafficking, especially fentanyl. Since March, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office has initiated prosecution for several drug trafficking cases including:
· A Rio Arriba man found in possession of 1300 fentanyl pills.
· An individual found in their vehicle with over 900 fentanyl pills in Santa Fe.
· An individual found with 500 fentanyl pills in a local hotel.
A first-time offender charged with drug trafficking in New Mexico carries a maximum prison sentence of 9 years; for second-time or repeat offenders, the penalty becomes more severe, leading to a mandatory sentence of 18 years imprisonment. Additionally, a defendant can be charged by the federal authorities, as well, if the drug trafficking meets certain criteria.
“We have seen a serious increase in drug trafficking and fentanyl-related overdose deaths throughout the First Judicial District,” stated Assistant District Attorney Russell Warren, who specializes in prosecuting drug crimes. Continued Warren, “As an office, we have compassion for those addicted to these substances and we have implemented policies and procedures to get them help instead of punishing addiction. However, we have little tolerance for those who profit off the addiction of others by peddling these dangerous substances in our community.” The First Judicial District Attorney’s office will use every tool available to prosecute those who are trafficking narcotics, including referral to the federal authorities. One pill is often enough to cause death and one drug overdose in our community is one too many.