ALBUQUERQUE – Christopher Murillo, 38, of Silver City, N.M., pled guilty yesterday in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to a heroin trafficking charge and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Murillo was arrested on Feb. 11, 2018, on a criminal complaint alleging drug trafficking and firearms offenses. According to the complaint, Silver City Police Department officers seized approximately 30.2 grams of heroin, 412.7 grams of marijuana, a loaded firearm, and drug paraphernalia in Murillo’s vehicle while executing a search warrant following a traffic stop on July 6, 2017, in Grant County, N.M. Murillo was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, because of his prior felony convictions for aggravated burglary, larceny, larceny of a firearm, and breaking and entering.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Murillo pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possessing heroin with intent to distribute and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. In entering the guilty plea, Murillo admitted that on July 6, 2017, Silver City Police Department officers found 30 grams of heroin and a firearm in his vehicle while executing a search warrant after an officer smelled marijuana emitting from his vehicle during a traffic stop. Murillo admitted ownership of both the heroin and firearm, and acknowledged that that he intended to distribute the heroin to others in exchange for money. Murillo also acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his status as a convicted felon.
At sentencing, Murillo faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Silver City Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard C. Williams of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative was launched in January 2015 by the UNM Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in response to the national opioid epidemic, which has had a disproportionately devastating impact on New Mexico. Opioid addiction has taken a toll on public safety, public health and the economic viability of our communities. Working in partnership with the DEA, the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC), the Albuquerque Public Schools and other community stakeholders, HOPE’s principal goals are to protect our communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioid painkillers and reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in New Mexico.
The HOPE Initiative is comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. HOPE’s law enforcement component 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 and opioid trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative.
Information from Department of Justice