ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Monday afternoon a federal jury found 34-year-old Raymond Moya guilty of distributing heroin resulting in death, likely making him the first person convicted of that crime in New Mexico.
Moya had supplied heroin to Cameron Weiss, an 18-year-old former La Cueva High School student who had become addicted to drugs following treatment for a sports-related injury. Weiss died from an overdose on Aug. 13, 2011.
The jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Moya guilty of distribution of heroin and distribution of heroin resulting in death. He faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. The sentence is enhanced because he has at least four prior felony convictions.
His sentencing has yet to be scheduled.
“New Mexico has been hit hard by the heroin and opioid epidemic that is plaguing our country,” Kyle Williamson, the special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Division, said in a news release. “Drug dealers who fuel this epidemic must be held accountable for their actions, which – all too often – have lethal consequences. DEA will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who prey on our communities and to do our part to reduce overdose deaths.”
During the six-day trial in U.S. District Court, Weiss’s family and friends reconstructed the week leading up to his death.
In closing statements, prosecutor Sean Sullivan said the testimony proved Weiss had met a man named Joseph Dyson in jail and Dyson helped him buy heroin from Moya after both were released. Federal authorities had initially charged Dyson with the distribution of heroin resulting in death but he pleaded guilty to a lesser distribution of heroin charged in exchange for agreeing to tell them where he bought the drugs.
Sullivan said Weiss and his friend used heroin with Dyson a couple of times the evening before he died – and that it was the only heroin they used – and the autopsy report showed he died from an overdose of the drug.
Attorney Amy Sirignano, who represented Moya along with attorney Jerry Daniel Herrera and paralegal Cynthia Gilbert, said the defense team is sorry for Weiss’s family but they disagree with the jury’s verdict. She said Moya had been addicted to drugs but hasn’t used in years.
“He’s an addict himself,” she said. “He’s not a huge supplier, we’re talking about two grams of heroin. I’m sure there are bigger fish the government could focus on out there.”
Sirignano said they are studying the issues and expect to file an appeal.