SELECT STATES Crime
See also Borders
5- Articles N-T
See also: Cartels
New Mexico Corruption
Police Abuses New Mexico
New Mexico Catholic Abuse
IN THIS SECTION
Articles-1 A-C (News Resources) More Detail Articles-2 D -G Articles-3 I-M (News Resources) More Detail Links Brief
DRUG USAGE CATEGORIES NM Cocaine Heroin Fentanyl Meth Opioids (General) Signs of Meth Usage
DRUG ENFORCEMENT DEA/Task Forces HIDTA Region II Narcotics Task Force Region III Narcotics Task Force
AREAS Alamagordo Albuquerque Anthony Artesia Aztec - also see San Juan County Belen Bernalillo County
Bloomfield - also see San Juan County Carlsbad Chama Chaparral Chimayo Cimarron Clovis Deming
Farmington - See San Juan County Gallup Hatch Hobbs Jemez Valley Jemez Springs Kirtland - also see San Juan
County La Luz
Las Cruces Las Vegas Los Lunas Moriarty Otero County/Southern NM Portales Raton Rio Rancho Roswell
San Juan County Santa Fe Silver City Socorro Taos Tijeras T or C Tucumcari Tularosa
Apache-Jicarilla Apache-Mescalero Laguna Pueblo Navajo Reservation San Juan Pueblo Zuni
See also: Cartels New Mexico Corruption New Mexico Drug Corruption Police Abuses New Mexico New Mexico Catholic Abuse
INTRODUCTION - START HERE
NOTE: The Albuquerque Journal had a multi-part overview of the drug problem in New Mexico:
2017/02/12 The Cartels Next Door: Cartels’ roots run deep in NM. By Mike Gallagher
Excerpt: Heroin rings and methamphetamine dealers with direct connections to international drug traffickers based in Mexico
have operated out of stash houses in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights, horse ranches in Valencia County, communities on the
Navajo Nation and small towns a stone’s throw from the Mexican border. And while we in New Mexico focus on drug-fueled
property crimes such as auto theft and horrific violence such as the murders of 10-year-old Victoria Martens and Rio Rancho police
officer Gregg “Nigel” Benner, our state is much more than a local market. It is a primary corridor for the cartels to ship drugs
nationwide. Federal law enforcement estimates the Sinaloa Cartel alone controls somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of illegal
drugs used in the United States. It supplies dealers in cities and states including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New
England, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. The Juárez Cartel supplies heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and
marijuana dealers in North Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, Minnesota, New Mexico and…
2020/02/29 Drug Addiction ‘Hard to Quantify’ in Northern New Mexico. By Associated Press
Excerpt: The San Miguel County Detention Center had 1,812 total criminal bookings in 2019, ranging from petty
misdemeanors to first-degree murder. Of those booked into SMCDC in 2019, about 8 percent were charged with at
least one drug-related crime, and many individuals faced multiple drug charges….In September, 10 people were
arrested and charged with federal crimes following raids by the DEA and local law enforcement. The target of the
year-long investigation was 42-year-old Robert Corbin Padilla, who is accused of running a drug trafficking
organization from Albuquerque that police estimate was responsible for 70 percent of the cocaine, heroin and
methamphetamine trafficked into Las Vegas. Beginning in December, a multi-agency drug investigation culminated
in the arrests of 15 people and resulted in multiple charges of trafficking cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
According to the DEA, drug trafficking organizations supply large quantities of drugs to street-level dealers, who in
turn sell smaller amounts to individual buyers.
2018/03/13 Death maps show where despair is killing Americans. Alcohol deaths are down, but drug overdoses are
way, way up
By Maggie Fox
Colorado - links with New Mexico and other States
2015/05/20 Colorado’s ‘Largest And Most Complex Heroin Bust’ Nets 34 As Use Of The Drug Thrives: Operation Chump Change
Excerpt: State, federal agents and prosecutors say they have arrested 34 people in a heroin distribution sweep that resulted in 57
state and federal indictments. It was the “largest and most complex heroin bust in the history of the Rocky Mountain region,”
according to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. A lot of the drugs ended up being distributed out of Denver’s Civic Center
area. The Drug Enforcement Administration and attorney general’s office says the abuse of prescription pills — opiates — has
fueled a heroin explosion now being seeing in Colorado, and youngsters are among the ones using heroin most. As more people
abuse prescription pills, especially opiates, experts say the transition to heroin becomes necessary because it’s cheaper and easier
to find. Brown heroin can be smoked which makes it easier for a user to hide. There are no needles, no track marks.
LINKS MORE DETAIL A - C
2006/01/07 [Chimayo/Heroin] Part II: Heroin Devastates a Town. (Chimayo, NM) By Julia Campbell
2019/07/18 [Santa Fe Vetererinarian/amphetaminies/rapes] Santa Fe veterinarian accused of raping teens indicted on drug
Excerpt: Santa Fe veterinarian who was accused of raping two teens at a Louisiana casino has been indicted on drug charges.
Todd Glover was indicted on July 16 by a Galveston County grand jury and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.
According to court documents, the organized crime involved false prescriptions for amphetamine drugs. Victoria Lyn and Justin
Tyler Cyr were also charged with engaging in organized criminal activity…In December 2018, Glover was arrested and charged for
allegedly using drugs from his clinic to rape underage girls.
2020/02/11 [Ruidoso/Meth/Heroin] Man busted by task force convicted for drug trafficking. By Cristina Carreon,
Excerpt: A Ruidoso man busted by the White Mountain Drug Task Force while making a drug delivery at a hotel was
found guilty on drug trafficking charges by a jury on Monday. Jacob Scott, 43, was found guilty of trafficking heroin by
possession with intent to distribute, and trafficking methamphetamine by possession with intent to distribute, by a
Lincoln County jury following a two-day trial.
2020/01/13 [La Luz/mariuana/meth/trafficking] Woman charged for trafficking in La Luz drug bust. By Cristina Carreon
Excerpt: A La Luz woman is facing charges related to drug trafficking after a bust by the White Mountain Narcotics
Task Force on Thursday. Christina Cruz, 35, was arrested and charged with trafficking a controlled substance by
possession with intent to distribute marijuana; trafficking a controlled substance by possession with intent to
distribute methamphetamine; possession of drug paraphernalia; two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon;
two counts of receiving stolen property; and conspiracy to commit trafficking of a controlled substance. A White
Mountain Narcotics Task Force agent executed a search warrant on Thursday, Jan. 9 at a residence on La Luz Gate
Road, which Cruz was renting, according to Otero County Magistrate Court records.
2019/11/06 [Tularosa/drug bust] The White Mountain Drug Task Force arrested three people in connection with a
drug bust in Tularosa
www.alamogordonews.com › story › news › 2019/11/06/
2019/07/06 Drug trafficking up since CBP checkpoint closure. By Nicole Maxwell
Excerpt: Otero County began tracking drug seizures in February when the Sheriff's Office joined the White Mountain
Task Force, a part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. The number of drug seizures rose from
February to April, a trend officials have cited in declaring a state of emergency and asking the State to send help.
Before February, the county didn't do a very good job of tracking drug seizures. Still Sheriff David Black attributed
the rise in drug seizures to the closure of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) checkpoints along U.S. Highway 54/70
in March. The highway is a key corridor for drug trafficking, Black said. Otero County leaders including Otero County
Commissioner Couy Griffin (R-D2), have used the recently collected statistics to support the passage of a resolution
declaring a "state of emergency" in Otero County and to push New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham to recommit
National Guard troops to border enforcement.
Albuquerque ABQ Journal
2020/02/12 [Albuquerque/Meth, Fentanyl/Weapons incl. full-auto selector switch/Gang - South Side Locos] Suspected drug dealer:
ABQ is a ‘crazy place’. By Mike Gallagher.
Excerpt: A South Side Locos street gang member arrested on drug and weapons charges told members of an FBI task force that –
in addition to drugs and cash – he had a machine gun and other firearms in his house because Albuquerque is “a crazy place” and
Bolivar, who is known as “Manny,” “Gino,” “G” and “Little Sapo,” was charged in federal court with possession of a machine gun,
possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
After arranging for undercover drug purchases from Bolivar, agents conducted a predawn raid on his home in Southwest
Albuquerque, finding 3 pounds of methamphetamine, almost $16,000 in cash, five pistols and two rifles, 96 blue fentanyl tablets,
155 packaged strips of suboxone and a bulletproof vest, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition. During the raid, agents
found a full-automatic selector switch that, when installed, allows a Glock 9mm pistol to be fired as a fully automatic firearm,
according to court records. The switch can be installed in seconds and turns the weapon into what is considered a machine gun
under federal law, according to the complaint filed against Bolivar. A lower-level drug dealer had told agents that Bolivar, who
faces a potential life sentence, was a “big-time plug” who had supplied him with drugs more than a thousand times. The lower-
level dealer told agents Bolivar received drugs from an organization in Mexico.
Federal court documents identified Bolivar as a member of the South Side Locos and included photographs of Bolivar flashing
2020/02/06 [Albuquerque/Fentanyl/Army Veteran] Arrest includes 18 guns, $11K, drugs, fake IDs, more. By Matthew
Excerpt: A drug bust in the International District last week turned up much more than dope. New Mexico State Police
say they found more than a dozen guns — some of them stolen — thousands in cash, a fair amount of fentanyl, Los
Lunas Police badge when home raided of 35-year-old Army veteran Claudio Chavez on Jan. 30.
2019/09/20 [Las Vegas/Cocaine, Fentanyl/Trafficking] Raids target big drug operation around state. Colleen Heild
Excerpt: Federal, state and local enforcement agents, some descending in helicopters, staged early morning raids in
Las Vegas and elsewhere in northern and central New Mexico on Thursday to take down a longtime drug trafficking
organization and its alleged leader, who seemed to always stay a step ahead of his captors.
Robert Corbin Padilla, also known as Fat Head, was taken into custody Thursday in Albuquerque, according to newly
released arrest and search warrant records filed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI. Padilla faces
multiple charges, including distribution of fentanyl and cocaine.
2019/03/23 [Albuquerque/Heroin, Meth] ‘Arsenal’ of weapons, heroin and meth seized in ABQ. By Mike Gallagher
Excerpt: The federal criminal cases against brothers Sergio and Jesus Samaniego-Villa have all the earmarks of a
typical Mexican-based drug operation: drugs, guns, money and even statuettes of Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde,
commonly known as the patron saints of drug trafficking….Sergio, 30, faces drug charges and Jesus Samaniego-Villa,
faces gun charges. The brothers, from Culiacán, the heart of Sinaloa, are both in the country illegally…. But even in an
Albuquerque metropolitan area with plenty of gun violence, it’s not every day officers pull over a vehicle and find the
driver – in this case Jesus Samaniego-Villa – wearing an armored vest with a 30-round AR-15 magazine clipped to it. In
the back seat of the extended cab pickup truck, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies found what prosecutors describe
as an “arsenal” of rifles, a machine gun, night vision goggles, drugs and more than $33,000 in cash.
2018/04/15 [NM fatal drug overdoses] Partnerships have the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuting fatal drug overdoses in NM
By Albuq. Jrnl Ed.
Excerpt: Drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control. To put that number in
perspective, it’s the equivalent of the combined populations of Roswell, Taos, Silver City and Jemez Springs dying in one year
because of drugs. Five hundred of those fatal overdoses were in New Mexico. While addicts often pay for their addictions with
their lives, dealers typically just move on to the next unfortunate soul needing a fix, wreaking even more heartache in the
communities where they operate.
2018/01/23 [Albuquerque/Meth, Heroin, Cocaine/Firearms, Stolen cars] Drug bust leads to charges against 77. By Matthew Reisen
Excerpt: ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico State Police announced a months long drug bust Tuesday afternoon
that slapped 77 men and women with charges ranging from drug possession and trafficking to stolen cars and guns.
State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo said Operation Recharge, aimed at “drug dealers, car thieves, fugitives and other
criminals” in the Albuquerque area, also netted nearly 50 pounds of meth and heroin, a quarter pound of cocaine in
addition to firearms and stolen cars. Of those facing charges in the operation, Armijo said 18 are convicted felons
and 23 are still on the loose. She said New Mexico State Police partnered with Albuquerque Police and Homeland
Security’s Homeland Security Investigations for the four-month investigation….Armijo said “numerous” individuals
charged as part of the operation have prior felony convictions and “extensive” criminal histories… 18 are convicted
felons and 23 are still on the loose [as of Jan. 2018].
2017/04/28 [Albuq, Rio Rancho/Heroin, Meth, Cocaine/Sinaoloa Cartel-multiple states] Feds: Drug bust nets 28 cartel operatives.
By Abq Jrnl News Staff.
Excerpt: Federal authorities say 28 people, including at least seven in Albuquerque and one in Rio Rancho, are facing
drug trafficking and money laundering charges in New Mexico as part of an investigation targeting a Mexican drug
trafficking organization. News media outlets were identifying the target organization as part of the Sinaloa cartel.
The organization is believed responsible for importing large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine
from Mexico, and distributing the illicit drugs in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Kentucky and Illinois, according to a
news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
2017/02/24 [NM-wide/Cartels] The Cartels Next Door: Cartels run deep in NM. By Mike Gallagher.
The Albuquerque Journal today begins a six-part investigative report on a criminal enterprise wreaking havoc across
the country. FIRST IN A SERIES You don’t have to look south across the border to see the Mexican drug cartels in
operation. They are operating right next door.
2016/06/02 [Socorro Area/Meth, Cocaine, Heroin, Prescription Drugs/Trafficking] Police charge 58 in Socorro County drug
trafficking investigation. By Elise Kaplan
Excerpt: New Mexico State Police have charged 58 people after a four-month investigation into drug trafficking in
Socorro County, a spokeswoman announced Thursday night. “Operation ‘Roadrunner’ involved several different drug
trafficking organizations operating in the area selling various types of narcotics, including methamphetamine,
cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription drugs,” said Sgt. Elizabeth Armijo in a news release.
2014/10/01 [Jemez Valley/Pot-Huge] $1 million in pot seized in Jemez Valley. By Patrick Lohmann
2014/05/10 [Espanola/Heroin, Cocaine/bootleg liquor/Trafficking] Northern NM drug bust nets 6 BY NICOLE PEREZ
Excerpt: Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested multiple people Friday who were allegedly selling drugs
and bootleg liquor – often using a 7-year-old girl to deliver the liquor to the buyers in the area, according to a
spokesman.The latest in a string of Española-area drug busts left the six adults facing drug trafficking, liquor law
violations, child abuse and drug possession charges, according to spokesman Jake Arnold…in Cordova – a small
community east of Española – where they found traffickable amounts of heroin and cocaine, as well as a bootleg
2013/04/04 [Belen/Meth/Trafficking/Assault-Officer] Belen man pleads guilty to drug charges, assaulting federal officer. Valencia
County News Bulletin
Excerpt: LOS LUNAS — Lonnie Dean, 48, of Belen, pleaded guilty Tuesday to methamphetamine trafficking and
assault on a federal officer charges under a plea agreement that requires him to serve a 20-year prison sentence.
Dean was one of 12 individuals from Valencia and Socorro counties charged with federal methamphetamine
trafficking charges in May and June 2011, following a 16-month investigation led by the DEA and the Los Lunas Police
Department. The investigation, code-named “Vanilla Sky,” was pursued under the Organized Crime Drug
Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, a nationwide initiative that combines the resources and unique expertise
of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and
money laundering organizations. According to court filings, Dean was part of a large scale methamphetamine
trafficking organization that operated in Valencia County, and allegedly was led by Arturo Acosta-Astorga, 53, and
Ovidio Estrada, 39, both residents of Los Lunas.
2010/06/11 [Carlsbad, Chaparral, Albuquerque/Cocaine/Trafficking] Transporters in south, north dealers busted
Excerpt: More than 50 drug dealers and distributors in different parts of the state were rounded up as part of two
federal investigations…The operation in the southern part of the state was focused on a family-run drug transporting
ring and was part of a larger, national effort called “Project Deliverance.” “The main target of this operation was the
transportation infrastructure of the Mexican drug trafficking organizations in the United States,” Gonzales said. He
said the family organization mainly trafficked cocaine, and transported it throughout New Mexico and into places like
Denver. Gonzales said 39 members of the group were charged in a federal indictment, and 26 have been arrested, so
far. He said most members were arrested in Chaparral, Carlsbad and Albuquerque, while others were arrested in El
Paso, Denver and Atlanta.
2009/12/16 [Tularosa/Meth/Trafficking/methadone/oxycodone, hydrocodone] Drug Busts Net 5 in Tularosa. By Albq. Jrnl News.
Excerpt: Arrested Tuesday were Rafael Lucero, 48, charged with three counts of second-degree felony trafficking of a
controlled substance; Michael Christopher, 58, three counts of second-degree trafficking, with additional counts
pending; Richard Lucero, 47, two counts of second-degree trafficking a controlled substance; and Maria Lindsey, a/k/a
Maria Pope, 42, one count of trafficking a gram of methamphetamine, the Daily News said. House said Tularosa
police had an undercover woman officer purchasing prescription drugs and methamphetamine, and the officer had
bought methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone pills at several locations in Tularosa, the Daily News said.
2016/06/04 [Eddy County/Meth/Cocaine/Crack Cocaine/Heroin/Cuban Nationals/Trafficking] 31 charged in Pecos Valley Drug
Task Force bust. By Brienne Green
Excerpt: Felony charges were filed late last week against 31 individuals, including 20 residents of Eddy County, as the
Pecos Valley Drug Task Force (PVDTF) wrapped up a four-month undercover operation. The remaining 11 individuals
charged are part of a group of Cuban nationals hailing from Albuquerque that was one of the major sources of
methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin activity in Eddy County. “Albuquerque is the hub right now,”
Cmdr. James McCormick of the PVDTF said Saturday. “Cubans traditionally only dealt with cocaine and crack cocaine,
but they have now expanded their horizons to include heroin and meth. And they have lots of it, and it’s cheap.”
2016/03/02 [Albuquerque/portapotty drugs] Albuquerque man sold drugs from porta potty
Police say an undercover drug bust netted an Albuquerque drug dealer who was doing business out of an adult video
store's portable toilet. The Albuquerque Journal reports 22-year-old Aaron Gonzales was arrested in the Pussycat
Video store's parking lot on Tuesday and is facing drug-trafficking charges. Andres Plata, an 18-year-old who is
accused of leading an undercover officer to Gonzales, also was arrested. Court documents show Plata, who said he
was Gonzales' brother, took the officer to the porta-potty after he asked him for heroin.
2004/11/06 [Espanola/Rio Arriba County/Heroin, Cocaine] Heroin, Cocaine and Española, New Mexico. By Jordan Green.
est. date 2018 [Navajo nation/crystal meth] Crystal Meth Plagues Navajo Nation
https //www culturalsurvival org/news/crystal-meth-plagues-navajo-nation
Excerpt: Shonie De La Rosa and his documentary, G, focusing on methamphetamine use in the Navajo Nation, won the award for
Best Public Service Film November 13 at the 29th Annual American Indian Film Festival. The documentary was the first produced
by a Navajo to win at this film festival. The film’s title refers to user’s jargon for methamphetamine: crystal meth, G, glass, speed,
ice, or crank. Users snort, inject, or smoke the drug. Methamphetamine can be easily made by household products such as
fertilizers, cold medicines, nail polish remover, iodine, and Drano, according to MSNBC. Because this highly addictive white powder
is easy and cheap to make, it has taken a stronghold on reservations in recent years. On the Navajo reservation, roughly $20
dollars can buy enough crystal meth to get three or four people high for an entire day, MSNBC reports. Michelle Archuleta, director
of the Tuba City (Arizona) Regional Health Care Corporation, which sponsored De La Rosa's documentary, is actively fighting the
use of meth on reservations by sending crystal meth experts and police officers to public schools throughout Navajo Nation to
educate students. "We’re trying to improve the wellness of this community from a Native perspective by including entire Navajo
families and also Navajo spiritual philosophies in our outreach," Archuleta told In These Times.
https //www culturalsurvival org/news/crystal-meth-plagues-navajo-nation
2020/04/07 [Carlsbad, Meth, Heroin/Trafficking] Carlsbad man sentenced for possession/trafficking controlled
substances. By Mike Smith
Excerpt: A Carlsbad man was sentenced to nearly three decades in prison for possession and trafficking of
meth and heroin, according to court records. Michael Lopez, 36, was sentenced March 30 in two separate
cases before Fifth Judicial District Judge Lisa Riley, court records read. “Both cases involved Mr. Lopez being in
possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to traffic or possess,” said Pecos Valley Drug Task
2019/05/20 [Artesia/Meth/Trafficking/Child Abuse] Artesia woman faces child abuse and drug trafficking. By Mike
Excerpt: Two children were removed from an Artesia home that agents with the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force
said was littered with drug paraphernalia. The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department took
custody of the 8-year-old and 5-year-old. Charges of trafficking a controlled substance and child abuse are
pending against the children's mother, Jessica Jones, 33, per the release. Agents… suspected
methamphetamine trafficking, read a Task Force press release
2018/11/02 [Carlsbad/Meth, Heroin/Trafficking] 4 Carlsbad residents arrested in "trafficking ring". By Jessica
Excerpt: six month investigation into drug trafficking between Texas and southeast New Mexico ended in the
arrest of four Carlsbad residents. Shessa Kirby Sanchez, 26, Paul Sanchez, 55, Jeanette Elizondo, 45, and
Kenneth Armendariz, 33, were charged with allegedly helping two others traffic "large amounts of meth" and
heroine between the two states.
The U.S. Justice Department issued federal indictments against 53-year-old Kenny Sanchez and Joseph
Hernandez, 41, Tuesday; Sanchez and Hernandez, suspected of leading the ring, were charged with various
counts related to methamphetamine trafficking.
Updates 2021/01/22 moved some material that was over-extended here to Articles-2; renamed the pages “Articles” withsequential numbers: 2020/05/13 ABC-2019/07/18;
2020/05/07 FBI-RSK-2018 gang material; 2020/05/03 various insertions and editing; 2020/04/27 Brief Links/created separate page; created separate page Areas; added
articles: Deming Headlight-2020/02/14 Alamagordo News- 2020/01/13; Alb. Jrnl-2013/04/04; NewsChannel 10-2019/12/03 and 2019/04/04; DEA-2019/09/20; info on
DEA/Task Force; Structural/organizational corrections and additions made; 2020/03/27-ICE 2014/02/27; Daily Times-2019/07/26; 2020/02/22 two drug pages merged-
policefactor nm drugs and rivergold nm drugs; 10/07/2017 Justice dot gov 29 San Juan Co; police factor page started 2016/06/04
NEW MEXICO Articles-A-C
NEW MEXICO DRUGS-1