Albuquerque Woman Pleads Guilty to Participating in Scheme to Smuggle Drugs into Otero County Prison
ALBUQUERQUE—Ana Lopez, 24, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty in federal court in Las Cruces yesterday afternoon to an indictment charging her with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. In entering her guilty plea, Ana Lopez admitted participating in a conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the Otero County Prison Facility (OCPF) between Dec. 2013 and April 2014.
Lopez was one of six individuals charged in April 2014, in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to violate the federal narcotics laws by smuggling controlled substances into the OCPF. The other defendants charged with participating in the conspiracy were Luis Delgadillo, 37, of El Paso, Texas, who was then employed as a corrections officer at OCPF, Nancy Salas, 35, of Alamogordo, N.M., and three OCPF inmates, Eric Lovato, 30, of Boles Acres, N.M., and Armando Lopez, 27, and Gary Borja, 26, both of Albuquerque. All six defendants subsequently were indicted on a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin charge on Aug. 20, 2014.
According to court filings, the FBI initiated an investigation into the case in Jan. 2014, after receiving information from the New Mexico Corrections Department allegedly showing that Delgadillo was smuggling heroin and methamphetamine into the OCPF. The investigation, which included a review of recorded inmate telephone calls and OCPF surveillance video, physical surveillance and the results of inmate drug testing, identified the six defendants as members of a conspiracy who allegedly smuggled narcotics into the OCPF between Jan. 2014 and April 2014.
In her plea agreement, Ana Lopez admitted participating in a conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the OCPF. The plea agreement states that Ana Lopez was recruited to help smuggle drugs into the prison in Jan. 2014. Ana Lopez admitted delivering an ounce of heroin in Feb. 2014 and again in March 2014, to a person knowing that the person would give it to a corrections officer who would smuggle the heroin into the prison. Ana Lopez also admitted that on April 26, 2014, she met with the corrections officer and gave him 25 grams of methamphetamine, 11 grams of heroin and 10 suboxone pills so he could smuggle the drugs into the prison.
At sentencing, Ana Lopez faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. She remains in federal custody pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
The five co-defendants have entered not guilty pleas to the indictment. All five are in federal custody pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled. Charges in criminal complaints and indictments are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the New Mexico Corrections Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Saltman of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.