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State Police tactical response in Bernalillo County nets almost 100 felony arrests, targeting violent offenders

Sep 14, 2021 | Press Releases, Public Safety

ALBUQUERQUE – New Mexico State Police report 93 felony arrests, including 58 individuals with violent criminal histories, over the first three weeks of the tactical response to violent crime in Bernalillo County directed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, in addition to DWI arrests, narcotics seizures and more.

The temporary assignment of state police officers to Bernalillo County, with an emphasis on the Albuquerque metro area, includes almost three dozen officers, coming from various bureaus and units within the agency, including the Fugitive Apprehension Unit and Crime Suppression Unit.

The tactical response began Aug. 17. The agency plans to resume its targeted efforts throughout the county and metro area for at least one additional week after the conclusion of the New Mexico State Fair.

Through last week, New Mexico State Police report the following as part of the tactical response:

  • 13 stolen vehicles recovered
  • 21 DWI arrests
  • 160 total arrests, including felonies and misdemeanors; this number includes 58 arrested individuals with violent criminal histories
  • 15 narcotics seizures, including methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl
  • 6 illegal firearms recovered

“I believe state police officers have made a real difference in these few weeks,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “This targeted effort has brought in dozens of offenders with violent criminal histories, and that is and must continue to be our North Star in combating crime in our state: Keeping as many of the worst of the worst off of our streets as we possibly can. It’s why I will support a significant investment in hiring 1,000 new community-oriented officers statewide in the upcoming legislative session. And it’s why I will support a rebuttable presumption for violent offenders, because bail reform is necessary to help our officers and criminal justice system prioritize the repeat and violent offenders who have no business on our streets. I look forward to continued good work from our committed officers, and I thank them, and their partners throughout the criminal justice system, for their ongoing service to New Mexico.”

Specific examples from the ongoing response to violent crime include:

  • State Police officers, acting on information about an individual wanted out of San Juan County for a felony drive-by shooting in which two individuals were injured, located the individual and took him into custody during a traffic stop without incident.
  • State officers identified a stolen vehicle and arrested the driver without incident, confiscating in the process more than 320 pills of fentanyl and more than 3 grams of methamphetamine, in addition to an illegal firearm.
  • State officers, acting on information about an individual wanted on a federal arrest warrant for weapons and ammunitions charges, and collaborating across the agency’s tactical team, crime suppression agents, state K-9 unit and units from the Albuquerque Police Department, located the individual in a crawl space under a residence and apprehended the individual without incident.

“This metro operation is an outstanding example of the continued commitment to statewide law enforcement support provided by the Department of Public Safety and the New Mexico State Police,” said Public Safety Secretary Jason Bowie. “Effective partnerships between law enforcement and community stakeholders are crucial to public safety. The dedication and commitment exhibited in this partnership was vital and has not gone unnoticed. More work is still ahead of us.”

“Early results from this response are proof that we need state and local partners working together on shared priorities to turn the tide on crime,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. “We’re grateful for the state police’s support, and their partnership with APD, as we take bold steps to tackle crime across Bernalillo County and pursue the common goal of keeping our communities safe.”

“The presence of the New Mexico State Police Department in Bernalillo County has resulted in a number of successful arrests, such as Michael Avila for his fifth DWI, and Darrien Mells for first degree murder,” said District Attorney Raúl Torrez of Bernalillo County. “We thank the New Mexico State Police Department and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for their efforts and we look forward to continuing to work together to address crime in our community.”

The Bernalillo County tactical response follows similar successful efforts conducted by New Mexico State Police in strategic partnership with local law enforcement agencies and communities throughout New Mexico, including in Valencia County earlier this year and in McKinley County in May.

“By arresting violent fugitives who were wanted on charges including aggravated assault, armed robbery, and drug distribution, we not only take repeat offenders off the street, but we are also able to derive valuable intelligence that help solve additional crimes and take down larger criminal operations in the area,” said Chief Tim Johnson of the New Mexico State Police. “As we continue targeting violent offenders, I commend the outstanding work of my officers, who dedicate their lives to protecting our residents and making New Mexico safer for all.”

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The Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is located on the fourth floor of the New Mexico State Capitol in Room 400.

490 Old Santa Fe Trail Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Phone: (505) 476-2200
Toll free: (833) 520-0020

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