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Rio Rancho Drug Trafficking Lawyers

Rio Rancho Drug Trafficking Attorneys Ready to Serve You

Drug trafficking is a serious felony in most of the United States, including New Mexico. But New Mexico is particularly susceptible to the devastating effects of drug trafficking, in part, due to its proximity to Mexico. The boot heel of our state has three separate ports of entry (POE), and the topography of the border area is full of mountain ranges with very few residents. This combination of factors makes it easier for drug smugglers to get their cargo over the border and into the U.S. without detection, and make New Mexico a state that has a greater drug trafficking problem than other areas of the country.

And this problem has potentially led to over-zealous narcotics arrests throughout the drug smuggling corridor – which runs straight through Rio Rancho and the surrounding area. Since the penalties for trafficking are quite serious, if you have been arrested for this crime, you will need to speak to an experienced attorney who knows how to best defend your rights.

You Don’t Have to Be Smuggling or Dealing to Be Charged with Trafficking

A man handcuffed while his possessed drugs shown in the table.It is generally assumed that, in order to get charged with trafficking, you must have the intent to sell or distribute the drugs. Yes, the laws of our state do say that manufacturing, transporting, delivering, selling, or the intending to distribute is a part of the charge of trafficking, but the truth is that you do not have to intend to distribute to be charged with this crime. 

Although “simple possession” of illegal drugs is certainly a crime, it is a crime that carries a far lighter sentence than what is imposed for trafficking. However, if you are caught in the possession of a large volume of drugs, you may be charged with trafficking solely based on the quantity possessed. The logic behind this is that if a person possesses more than can reasonably be for personal consumption, then the intent to distribute can be implied. That implication leads the way for a charge of trafficking, regardless of intent. And that charge of trafficking can lead to very serious long-term consequences.


The penalties for trafficking vary depending on whether you are charged with a state or federal crime. Transporting drugs from one state to another is one way to get hit with a federal charge. Another way is to possess a threshold amount of drugs. However you get there, federal charges carry greater sentences than state charges in most cases. 

New Mexico has designated trafficking as a 2nd-degree felony (with the 1st-degree felony being the most severe). You may face as much as 9 years in prison if convicted. However, should the prosecutor decide that your actions warrant a federal charge, you could be looking at far more prison time. The possible sentences vary according to the type of drug possessed and what volume was possessed. But if you get charged at the federal level, you are looking at minimum mandatory sentences that range from 5 years in prison to life without the possibility of parole. 

And keep in mind that judges at both the state and federal level are allowed to consider aggravating circumstances that can increase your penalties. For instance, if death or serious bodily injury is involved, even if it is your first offense, you can face a federal minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison. And in case you are not aware, when a sentence is a “minimum mandatory” sentence, the judge does not have the discretion to lower it. They cannot go lower than the statutory 20 years. However, they can increase the amount of time if they determine that aggravating factors like serious bodily injury or death resulted from your actions. 

Speak with an Experienced Rio Rancho Drug Trafficking Lawyer

A man handcuffed while resisting.As you can see, when you are charged with drug trafficking, the stakes are extremely high. You could potentially be looking at decades to life behind bars, so this is no time to cut corners. Criminal law is incredibly complex, and with so much on the line, no one should have to go through the prosecutorial process without a skilled Rio Rancho drug trafficking attorney by their side, representing and protecting their best interests. The prosecutor has the weight of the government and the police behind them, and their sole purpose is to get that conviction.

Let us be your advocates. Here at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we have decades of experience ready to go to work for you. We know every trick that the prosecution has up its sleeve, so we don’t fall for any of them. We are passionate, experienced advocates that will stand up for your rights in court as if they were our own, and we will make certain that your rights are upheld every step of the way. You are not in this alone. We believe in individualized representation because no two cases are alike, so call us today to schedule a meeting.