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Ringleader of Sunland Park heroin trafficking organization sentenced

Courtesy: MGN

A Sunland Park man was sentenced to 72 months in prison on heroin trafficking charges.

Raymundo Munoz, 69, was sentenced in federal court Tuesday. Munoz is described as the ringleader of a heroin organization that operates out of Sunland Park, New Mexico, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and distribution of heroin on March 1, 2017.

Munoz obtained his heroin from an El Paso man identified as 60-year-old Juan Francisco Rivera.

Munoz’s arrest was part of an investigation known as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force program. Officials said it is a nationwide program spearheaded by the Department of Justice to dismantle drug trafficking organizations.

Officials said Munoz admitted to conspiring with Rivera and others to distribute approximately 119 ounces of heroin between April 2016 and July 2016. They hired women to carry the heroin from Mexico to the United States to give the drugs to Rivera, who would then give the heroin to Munoz.

Ten other members of the heroin trafficking ring were charged in July 2016. The members conspired to distribute heroin in Dona Ana County and other areas between May, 2016 and July 12, 2016.

The following members pleaded guilty in the case:

  • Carlos Diaz, 37, of El Paso, pleaded guilty on Jan. 24, 2017, and was sentenced on June 29, 2017, to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
  • Sandra Francis Guzman, 53, of El Paso, pleaded guilty on March 21, 2017, and was sentenced on July 25, 2017, to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
  • Alberto Lozano-Morales, 43, of Sunland Park, pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2016, and was sentenced on May 24, 2017, to time served followed by one year of supervised release.
  • Blanca Elisa Tovar, 42, of El Paso, pleaded guilty on Dec. 13, 2016, and faces a sentence of 24 months in prison under the terms of her plea agreement;.
  • Juan Francisco Rivera pleaded guilty on Feb. 7, 2017, and faces a sentence of 108 months in prison under the terms of his plea agreement.
  • Armando Daniel Marquez, 54, of Sunland Park, pleaded guilty on Feb. 23, 2017, and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years under the terms of his plea agreement.
  • Eleodoro Sanchez, 62, of Canutillo, pleaded guilty on March 7, 2017, and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years under the terms of his plea agreement.

One of the two remaining co-defendants has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges in the indictment; the second has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.

The Las Cruces office of the DEA and the Sunland Police Department investigated these cases with assistance from the El Paso office of the FBI, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Gang Unit of the El Paso Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dustin C. Segovia and Renee L. Camacho of the U.S. Attorney's Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting these cases as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education, or HOPE, Initiative.

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