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PRESS RELEASE: New Mexico Former Corrections Officer Sentenced for Unlawfully Trafficking “Suboxone”

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Former Corrections Officer Sentenced for Unlawfully Trafficking “Suboxone”

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Edward Owens, 21, of Santa Fe, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to three years of probation for participating in a conspiracy to distribute Buprenorphine, more commonly known as “Suboxone,” in violation of the federal narcotics laws. At the time he committed the crime, Owens was employed as a corrections officer at the Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility.

Owens was arrested on Feb. 12, 2015, on an indictment charging him and codefendant James Barela, 41, of Santa Fe, with conspiracy and possession of Suboxone with intent to distribute. According to the indictment, Owens and Barela committed these crimes between Aug. 6, 2014 and Aug. 12, 2014, in Santa Fe County, N.M.

On Dec. 3, 2015, Owens pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that from Aug. 4, 2014 through Aug. 12, 2014, while he was employed as a corrections officer at the Santa Fe County Adult Correctional Facility, he agreed to bring contraband into the jail for Barela who was an inmate at the facility. Owens admitted that he agreed to smuggle 47 sublingual Suboxone strips into the jail in exchange for payment from Barela, but was apprehended while attempting to do so.

Barela pled guilty to participating in the Suboxone trafficking conspiracy on June 10, 2015, and admitted that from Aug. 4, 2014 through Aug. 12, 2014, while he was incarcerated he conspired with Owens to distribute Suboxone to inmates in the correctional facility. Barela was sentenced on Oct. 8, 2015, to 12 months and one day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, and the Santa Fe Corrections Department with assistance from the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaheen P. Torgoley prosecuted the case pursuant to the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center that is partnering with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the overriding goal of reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in the District of New Mexico. The HOPE Initiative comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. The law enforcement component of the HOPE Initiative 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 trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative.

About FREDERICA CADE

Most of the information you will see comes from some Federal/state Government documents or Federal/State Governm Agency. -----------------------------------------------The fellow that can only see a week ahead is always the popular fellow, for he is looking with the crowd. But the one that can see years ahead, he has a telescope but he can't make anybody believe that he has it. ~~~~Will Rogers __The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.~ Albert Einstein ~"I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understandingsharpen​ed, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ~"The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment".~___________________________________ George Washington, Address to the Members of the Volunteer Association of Ireland, December 2, 1783 Fredericacade@gmail.com

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