State officials are lauding early results of an ongoing operation by New Mexico State Police to battle violent crime in Bernalillo County.

State police reported 93 felony arrests in the effort, including 58 of suspects with violent criminal histories. In addition, arrests were made on crimes ranging from DWI to narcotics to firearms, according to a news release from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

In all, officers have recorded 160 arrests.

The operation featured the temporary assignment of 35 state police agents from various bureaus to target violent crime in the Albuquerque metropolitan area and Bernalillo County. It began Aug. 17 and is expected to extend for one additional week following the closure of the New Mexico State Fair on Sunday.

“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,” state police Chief Tim Johnson said in the release.

The Governor’s Office pointed to arrests of suspects such as Darrien Mells, accused of first-degree murder in the shooting of a man at a Chevron gas station after an argument. Other cited successes included the arrests of suspects reportedly involved in a San Juan County drive-by shooting; a driver found with 300 fentanyl pills; and a suspect facing federal charges for weapons and ammunitions infractions, according to the release.

The tactical operation in Albuquerque is similar to efforts between state police and local agencies in other parts of the state, including Valencia and McKinley counties.

Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office, said Lujan Grisham is committed to addressing violent crime in a multipronged way that involves the justice system and other key agencies.

“The governor believes addressing violent crime requires an entire criminal justice system — from cities and counties to beat cops and courts — working together to find and arrest and bring to justice violent offenders,” Stelnicki wrote in an email Wednesday.

When asked if the operation was expected to have a lasting impact on violent crime, Lauren Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque, said it is too soon to tell from whether these arrests will lead to convictions. State police made more arrests in the area than in an average three-week period, she added.

(9) comments

Emily Koyama

93 arrested, 89 back on the street within 24 hours. Just an educated guesstimate.

Andrew Lucero

This is all for show and there will be little to no positive results... Seriously, what good does it do to round up the usual suspects when the judges are going to let the vast majority of them go within 24 hours?

Peter Romero

Justin time for the Albuquerque municipal election. MLG has Keller's back.

paul pacheco

Plain and simple; APD just not doing their job! Morale is low, judges and lawmakers pass laws that release violent perpetrators. Wake up citizens of Albuquerque, it's time for a new administration in the mayor's office. Crime is up but so is the number of killings by citizens who are determined to protect their property and interests! Way to go NM State Police and finally this governor!

Khal Spencer

It was only a matter of time before people were forced to be, shall we say, self reliant when dealing with violent crime. As the old saying goes, when seconds count the police are just minutes away.

Khal Spencer

Any bets on how many hours before a New Mexico judge cuts them loose on no bail or with the EZ Detachment Brand Ankle Monitor?

Lupe Molina

An idea for Santa Fe perhaps? Even if they respond from a station in Albuquerque, it would still beat SFPD's hours long response times.

Andrew Lucero

That's on a good day Lupe...There is still a 50-50 chance the SFPD won't show up at all...

Lupe Molina

Exactly, Andrew. And I feel bad for the rank and file cops. So many are so young and poorly paid. To have bad leadership on top of that must be totally demoralizing.

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