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Drug bust leads to charges against 77

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico State Police announced a monthslong 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.

“The Albuquerque metro area has seen a crime rate spike, and New Mexico State Police will not sit idly by and allow criminals to take this city over. Operation Recharge is a great example of what we can accomplish for the community when we work together,” State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said.

Kassetas said State Police are committed to fighting crime statewide while continuing to collaborate with law enforcement partners.

In a released statement, Gov. Susana Martinez said she was “very proud” of law enforcement officers who worked to go after the “dangerous criminals and bring them to justice.”

“Criminals like these have been terrorizing New Mexicans for far too long,” Martinez said. “We need to keep doing all we can to crack down and keep offenders like these behind bars where they belong so our families and communities can be safer.”

Armijo said all charges have been referred to the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

“All of the individuals face state charges, and additional arrests and charges related to this investigation are forthcoming,” she said.

Armijo said “numerous” individuals charged as part of the operation have prior felony convictions and “extensive” criminal histories.

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