- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 8, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Two New Mexico men already charged with heroin trafficking were accused Wednesday of a death that resulted from use of the drug.

Rosendo Flores Angulo, 38, of Albuquerque and Curtis Hutchinson, 30, of Edgewood were arraigned on an 18-count superseding indictment in federal court in Albuquerque. Both pleaded not guilty.

The indictment alleges the two on April 29, 2015 distributed heroin to a person who died as a result of its use. The indictment said the death occurred in Bernalillo County, but did not include the victim’s name or any further details.

The men would face between 20 years and life in prison if convicted on the “death resulting” charge added by the latest indictment.

Hutchinson’s defense attorney, John Samore, said the addition of the “death resulting” charge is inappropriate, and that treatment would be better for Hutchinson.

“It uses extreme criminal penalties to punish one addict for the actions of the other,” Samore said. “I’m sure the government has good intentions, but I don’t think this is how you treat addiction.”

Samore said that Hutchinson is employed, enrolled in school part-time and attending counseling.

Angulo’s defense attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education Initiative. The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office launched the initiative in January 2015 in response to the national opioid epidemic that disproportionately impacted New Mexico, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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