ALBUQUERQUE, NM – A Los Lunas man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute 40+ grams of fentanyl and possession of a firearm in pursuit of a felony drug trafficking , May 31.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case with assistance from the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) and the Cibola County Sheriff’s Office.
Esteban Renteria III pleaded guilty to these charges on July 26.
According to the plea agreement and other court records, on December 31, 2020, an NMSP officer observed Renteria driving 102 miles per hour on Interstate 40 in Cibola County and initiated a traffic stop.
Upon learning that Renteria had two active arrest warrants, the officer arrested Renteria and performed an inventory of items in Renteria’s vehicle. During inventory, the officer found a backpack containing $12,012 in cash and a loaded handgun. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators found 184 grams of fentanyl.
In his plea agreement, Renteria admitted that he intended to sell the fentanyl, that the money was obtained by selling drugs, and that he owned the gun to protect his drug business.
Upon his release from prison, Renteria will be subject to five years of probation.
Assistant United States Attorney Mark Pfizenmayer prosecuted the case.
HSI is a branch of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, particularly criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and financial move. HSI’s workforce of more than 10,400 employees includes more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities across the United States and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative police presence overseas and one of the largest international law enforcement footprints in the United States.