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 Help/Prevention
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 Espanola
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
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
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
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 charges
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
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-
2020/01/13 [La Luz/mariuana/meth/trafficking] Woman charged for trafficking in La Luz drug bust. By
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 “very violent.”
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 gang signs.
2020/02/06 [Albuquerque/Fentanyl/Army Veteran] Arrest includes 18 guns, $11K, drugs, fake IDs, more. By
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
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
2019/03/23 [Albuquerque/Heroin, Meth] ‘Arsenal’ of weapons, heroin and meth seized in ABQ. By Mike
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
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.
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
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 alcohol operation
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
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
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 Force (PVDTF).
2019/05/20 [Artesia/Meth/Trafficking/Child Abuse] Artesia woman faces child abuse and drug trafficking.
By Mike Smith.
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
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-1 A-C
Drug Abuse Links More Detail