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New Mexico Regional Partnership
Southwest Border HIDTA

General Information:
  Year of Designation:  1990
  Geographic Area of Responsibility:
    New Mexico:

Bernalillo, Chaves, Hidalgo, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Rio Arriba, San Juan, and Santa Fe Counties and all the municipalities therein.

    Contact: (505) 541-7501

Mission Statement:

The New Mexico Region's mission is to reduce drug availability by creating intelligence-driven drug task forces aimed at disrupting or dismantling international and domestic drug trafficking organizations, and the harmful consequences through enhancing and helping to coordinate drug trafficking investigative efforts among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Threat Abstract:

The New Mexico Regional Partnership was designated in 1990 as one of the five regions of the Southwest Border HIDTA. The region encompasses 13 counties, four Ports-of- Entry, and about 180 miles of the international border shared with Mexico. The proximity to Cuidad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas is also a major corridor for traffickers who smuggle narcotics into the United States through New Mexico. Freight trains and commercial motor vehicle carriers that cross the Texas/New Mexico and Mexican borders are frequently used by major poly-drug trafficking organizations to move significant amounts of drugs into and throughout the United States. These poly- drug organizations have effectively established distribution networks in key locations throughout the State of New Mexico where heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana are readily available. Drug traffickers are increasingly exploiting the North American Free Trade Agreement provisions as a means of facilitating the illegal movement of their drugs mixed with the significant increase of illegal commercial trade. The importation, distribution, and consumption of cocaine and “crack cocaine” are the biggest threat in the region. Cocaine seizures are on the rise in the State of New Mexico.

Methamphetamine is of major concern to New Mexico as it is still the most favored drug for abuse. In general, Methamphetamine is produced in Mexico in its purest form and then smuggled into the United States in bulk quantities where it passes through New Mexico for distribution in other parts of the United States. Methamphetamine also comes into New Mexico for personal use from mid-level distributors from Arizona and California. Additionally, methamphetamine is produced in small quantities in New Mexico by users, but in such small amounts, it usually only reaches the personal use level.

Mexican marijuana is the most prevalent drug abused and the most commonly seized drug resulting from interdiction seizures. The marijuana market is dominated primarily by Mexican traffickers, but there is also evidence that marijuana is being grown in New Mexico. Marijuana is also being grown in California and Arizona and does cross New Mexico's borders, but is usually destined for the northeastern coast of the U.S. Multi-ton marijuana seizures occur annually along the southern New Mexican borders and the three Interstate arteries, I-40, I-25, and I-10.

The availability of Mexican black tar heroin continues throughout New Mexico; and both brown and white heroin have been encountered. Two counties in northern New Mexico, Rio Arriba County and Santa Fe County, rank number one and two in the nation for heroin overdoses per capita. Heroin abuse has been a persistent problem for generations, but the addict population continues to grow steadily as a result of the location of the main supplier.

Lastly, gangs facilitate much of the drug distribution that occurs at the street level and are responsible for much of the drug-related violence in the region.

Strategy Abstract:

An Executive Committee comprised of seven federal and seven state/local law enforcement leaders in the New Mexico Region allows for a seamless integration and synchronization of efforts to reduce drug trafficking, eliminate unnecessary duplication of effort, systematically improve the sharing of drug intelligence, and support programs that effectively reduce the demand for illegal drugs. The goals are to reduce the transshipment of drugs transported into New Mexico by identifying the responsible organizations; reducing distribution of drugs within communities; continuing interdiction of smuggled drugs; following up investigations; and reducing the manufacturing of methamphetamine. The New Mexico Region coordinates 13 initiatives that include representatives from 73 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. There are full-time participants in the New Mexico Regional initiatives that implement the strategy including: 17 collocated multi-agency task forces; one prosecution initiative that includes two U. S. Attorney Offices and seven District Attorney Offices; one forensic criminal laboratory; one Investigative Support Center; and one administrative support initiative. Interdiction efforts are emphasized on the transshipment of drugs in New Mexico. Investigations employ post seizure analysis and follow-up techniques in complex cases to include financial/money- laundering investigations. A prosecution system coordinates efforts between the U. S. Attorney's and state prosecutors focusing on high profile cases, including Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigations, and addressing the high volume of cases that originate from the border region.

Investigative Support Center:

The New Mexico Investigative Support Center (ISC) is the centerpiece of the HIDTA Region as it provides the collocation and commingling of vital federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel and databases that are available to assist all area law enforcement agencies in counterdrug investigations and interdiction. In addition to reporting on strategic intelligence, the ISC provides event and case deconfliction for officer safety and enhanced intelligence; case support to develop tactical intelligence for refined targeting Consolidated Priority Organization Target and Regional Organization Target (CPOT and RPOT); and in-service analytical intelligence training. The ISC provides HIDTA task forces operational analytical support for ongoing initiative driven case activity through access to criminal and commercial databases. The ISC provides law enforcement immediate access to a wide range of law enforcement and commercial databases. The ISC currently has the following databases: Treasury Enforcement Communication System (TECS), National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) and related subsystems, including the Interstate Identification Index (III), National Law Enforcement Teletype System (NLETS), INS Central Index System (CIS), Commercial Drivers License Information System (CDLIS and SAFER), DEA Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Information System (NADDIS), New Mexico Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), FBI Field Office Information Management System (FOIMS), the state Corrections Management Information System (CMIS), an event deconfliction system (SafeTnet) and Rocky Mountain Info Network (RMIN). The New Mexico Regional Threat Assessment requires quarterly reporting so that resources and direction can be reevaluated among the HIDTA initiatives. This information and statistics are shared with the NMISC.

Participating Agencies:

Federal: Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, Amtrak Police Department, Department of Defense JTF-6, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Marshal Service, United States Attorney's Office and United States Border Patrol.

State: New Mexico Department of Corrections and Parole, New Mexico Department of Public Safety, New Mexico National Guard, and District Attorney's Offices of the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Eleventh and Twelfth Judicial Districts.

County/Municipal: Albuquerque Police Department, Alamogordo Department of Public Safety, Artesia Police Department, Aztec Police Department, Belen Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department, Bernalillo Police Department, Bloomfield Police Department, Carlsbad Police Department, Corrales Police Department, Deming Police Department, Dona Ana County Sheriff's Department, Eddy County Sheriff's Department, Espanola Police Department, Eunice Police Department, Farmington Police Department, Grant County Sheriff's Department, Hatch Police Department, Hidalgo County Sheriff's Department, Hobbs Police Department, Jal Police Department, Las Cruces Police Department, Lea County Sheriff's Department, Los Alamos Police Department, Los Lunas Police Department, Lovington Police Department, Luna County Sheriff's Department, New Mexico State University Police Department, Otero County Sheriff's Department, Questa Police Department, Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Department, Rio Rancho Police Department, Sandoval County Sheriff's Department, San Juan County Sheriff's Department, Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department, Santa Fe Police Department, Silver City Police Department, Sunland Park Police Department, Taos Police Department, Taos Police Department, Tatum Police Department, Torrance County Sheriff's Department, Town of Mesilla Marshal, University of New Mexico Police Department, and Valencia County Sheriff's Department.

Other: New Mexico Sheriff's and Police Association

Significant Achievements:

In CY 2003, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) recognized the Albuquerque DEA HIDTA Task Force for their efforts with an award as an Outstanding HIDTA Interdiction Initiative. This Task Force performs interdiction duties on all forms of public transportation and the New Mexico highways. The cooperative spirit, hard work and dedication of the Task Force participants led to numerous outstanding successes throughout the United States, as well as in the State of New Mexico. These outstanding achievements included 76 individual arrests, numerous seizures totaling 1,370 kilograms of marijuana, 38 kilograms of cocaine, 11 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2 kilograms of heroin, 154 kilograms of other dangerous drugs and cash currency totaling over $2,338,552.00.

The Albuquerque DEA HIDTA Task Force demonstrated an outstanding ability to forge cooperative relationships among group members, as well as with the varied law enforcement participants. This Task Force was able to initiate and cultivate productive relationships with private entities that promoted the continued effectiveness of the group's interdiction endeavors. Members of this group are continuously sought to provide training to federal, state and local agencies throughout the U.S. regarding case law, methods, trends and techniques for successful interdiction operations. The interdiction efforts of the Task Force participants also resulted in the initiation and development of several significant investigations. The following investigations are provided as a sample:

After developing a cooperative working relationship with Mail Boxes Etc., the Task Force was contacted by employees of the company about a suspicious package. The package was subsequently seized by DEA and was found to contain 11 pounds of marijuana and 1.6 kilograms of cocaine. Through additional investigative techniques and surveillance, the case led to an additional cocaine seizure of 16 kilograms, 17 arrests and the dismantling of a drug trafficking organization.

A joint operation by members of the DEA HIDTA Task Force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Albuquerque Police Department, that was conducted in two simultaneous, synchronized stages netted four arrests, the seizure of $285,820.00 U.S. cash currency, 583 kilograms of marijuana, two pickup trucks, two goose-neck trailers with false compartments, a forklift, and two John Deere Gator Utility Vehicles.

During a routine interview of a train passenger, agents and officers observed dried glue on the outside sole of an individual's “new” shoes. This observation led to the discovery of .85 kilograms of heroin hidden in the soles of the passenger's shoes.

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Last Updated: February 7, 2005

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