May 4, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Daily Times "Feds nab 28 New Mexico gang members"

(See related story here)

Russell Contreras:
""Not only do we welcome (the federal presence), we're asking for it," said San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen, whose territory includes the areas in the Four Corners bordering the large Navajo Nation.

Because the Navajo Nation is so isolated and large, Christesen said the area is a popular route from Phoenix for drug traffickers and human smugglers who use the reservation's many remote roads to distribute throughout the region. "It shouldn't be left to the local law enforcement agencies to fight a national problem," Christesen said.

According to Ulrich, most of those arrested in New Mexico were living near Farmington. Five of the 28 arrested were women linked to the gangs, Ulrich said.

Federal authorities said that by getting involved and charging criminals in federal court, they can increase the amount of prison time.

In recent months, Homeland Security agents assisted local law enforcement agencies in more than 20 criminal investigations that will be prosecuted by U.S. attorneys, said Ulrich.

The federal government can seize criminals' money and possessions when they are convicted.

Since 2009, Homeland Security Investigations has added around 60 new agents to New Mexico and helped formed a number of joint task forces and multiagency groups aimed at tackling rural gangs, political corruption, drug and gun trafficking, child pornography, and human smuggling.

The beefed-up presence has resulted in a string of recent high-profile arrests, federal officials said. In March, for example, the mayor of the border town of Columbus and its police chief were among those arrested in a drug and weapons raid following a federal investigation into firearms smuggling from the U.S. to Mexico.

The mayor and police chief later pleaded guilty to federal charges..." (Read more?  Click title)
"Unapologetically pursuing and tracking patterns within the news others make since 2010."

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