ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Police in Albuquerque have arrested ten people and seized a multitude of drugs – mostly fentanyl – during a month-long operation targeting those who sell drugs on social media.
The operation was announced earlier this year by Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina after a spike in homicides, some of them linked to drug deals made on social media platforms.
So far this year there have been 42 homicides and police say 12 of those killed were buying or selling drugs. It is not known how many of them used social media to do so.
âWe have identified a trend that is fueling violent crime, and we are pursuing these offenders to end this activity,â Medina said in a statement. “We want to highlight these arrests to let people know that we are watching and taking action.”
Rebecca Atkins, an Albuquerque Police spokesperson, said the operation resulted in separate arrests of Kandace Chee, 36, Jailin Poncho, 18, Matthew Willingham, 24, Fidel Martinez, 24 , Marcus Chavez, 23, Christian Benson, 21, Johnathan Garcia, 20 and Patrick Webb, 33.
In all, she said police seized 2,976 fentanyl pills, 86 grams of methamphetamine, 15 grams of cocaine, two handguns and $ 7,700 in cash.
Court records show that police organized most of the transactions on Facebook in early April and used undercover officers to buy the drugs. Often the suspects were arrested at a later date.
Atkins said two other men were arrested, one on a felony warrant and the other on a felony warrant, but it is not known how they were targeted by the operation or involved in the drug sale. on social networks. Police seized $ 3,500 from one of the men.