Authorities warn of increase in fentanyl trafficking cases


SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The First Judicial District Attorney’s Office states that it has seen an increase in drug trafficking cases involving fentanyl. Fentanyl, which is a narcotic that is used to treat severe pain in cancer patients, is extremely deadly and highly addictive.

According to a press release from the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, many drug overdoses from illegally manufactured fentanyl occur when drug traffickers mix fentanyl with other drugs like heroin, oxycodone, or cocaine. The users will often now know they are consuming fentanyl as it can appear as other narcotics in the form of pills.

In working with state and federal law enforcement, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office is working to prosecute those involved in drug trafficking, especially fentanyl. Since March the DA’s Office reports that it has started prosecution for several cases including a Rio Arriba man found in possession of 1,300 fentanyl pills, an individual found with over 900 fentanyl pills in their vehicle in Santa Fe, and an individual found with 500 fentanyl pills in a local hotel.

“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 in the same press release, who specializes in prosecuting drug crimes. “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 press release states that a first-time offender who is with drug trafficking in New Mexico carries a maximum prison sentence of nine years while a second-time or repeat offender leads to a mandatory 18-year sentence. Defendants can also be charged federally if the drug trafficking meets certain criteria.

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