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Gangs driving much of the drug and gun violence crime in city, APD says

Albuquerque police investigate a homicide in April 2019. Officers and gang unit detectives are working to crack down on gun violence across the city. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Albuquerque police investigate a homicide in April 2019. Officers and gang unit detectives are working to crack down on gun violence across the city. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

A student found at school with a loaded laser-mounted pistol and high-capacity magazines in his backpack.

A family that allegedly pistol-whipped and robbed two others.

A man accused of being a “driver of crime and gun violence” in Albuquerque.

Those are some of the suspects the Albuquerque Police Department says its detectives have arrested in the past few months during various operations across the city.

APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said ballistics tracking has connected several of the suspects to numerous shootings, and police have identified many of them as gang members. He said some were arrested with guns and drugs on them.

Gallegos did not say what shootings they may have been involved in or whether any were homicides. He also did not provide all of the suspects’ ages.

The school gun incident unfolded at Youth Development Inc. after detectives reported seeing social media posts of Ramon Garcia firing weapons within the city.

The gang unit arrested Garcia on May 14 at the school, near Central and Coors. In his backpack, detectives found a laser-mounted pistol with a round in the chamber and two high-capacity magazines loaded with nearly 50 bullets.

Credit for gang unit

“Due to the quick action by the Gang Unit, a mass school shooting may have been averted,” Gallegos said. He did not immediately identify Garcia’s age or respond to questions if there were any signs of an impending school shooting.

Garcia is charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon on school premises, unlawful possession of a handgun by a person and tampering with evidence. It is unclear if Garcia has any gang ties.

In addition to Garcia’s arrest, Gallegos said, the gang unit arrested the following suspects during police calls, surveillance operations and lengthy investigations – some made on the spot and others cultivated over months – as part of APD’s ongoing initiative to tackle gun violence.

• On April 10, detectives arrested Ryan Winter, 46, and his three children – who police say are gang members – Keith, 16, Kevin, 16, and Faith, 17, in connection with the vicious beating of a man and a woman on Feb. 9.

Police say the family tracked down the victims after a fight between Faith Winter and others, including the female victim. The Winters beat the woman with a gun and shoved a shotgun in the man’s face outside a gas station.

Ryan Winter (MDC)

Gallegos said the family has also been connected to 11 separate shootings but did not elaborate.

The four face a slew of charges, including robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and child abuse.

• On April 16, detectives arrested Donald Crapse, “a self-admitted motorcycle gang member,” after allegedly witnessing him snort drugs outside a southwest Albuquerque home during a surveillance operation.

Police say Crapse was found with a gun on him and meth in his wallet. He was charged with possession of methamphetamine.

• On May 7, police arrested Cesar Marquez and Adrian Marquez after a report of a juvenile running around with a gun in a Walmart parking lot.

“As officers entered the parking lot they heard multiple gunshots,” Gallegos said.

Police found both men in a blue Ford Mustang and identified Adrian Marquez as the suspect who fired off shots. Inside the car, detectives found a loaded gun and an ounce of cocaine.

It is unclear what charges they face.

• Detectives arrested Chris Salcido on May 9 after a monthslong investigation. Police allege that he is gang member involved in several shootings and a “driver of crime and gun violence.”

Gallegos said Salcido was caught at a southwest Albuquerque home after a standoff with police. Inside the home, they found three ounces of cocaine, two pistols and an assault rifle that had been reported stolen.

He said Salcido has been tied to several shootings and associated with 36 calls for service, including shots fired, suspected narcotics trafficking and aggravated battery.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has since taken custody of Salcido and charged him with federal drugs and weapons crimes.

• Also on May 9, police arrested Dana LaMonda and Juan Carlos Pacheco at a home in southwest Albuquerque after following up on reports of possible gang activity and suspected ties to several shootings.

LaMonda was booked on a felony warrant for aggravated burglary of a firearm and Pacheco for separate charges.

• On May 18, detectives arrested Jamil Lewis, 21, outside a wedding reception in northwest Albuquerque on felony warrants.

Police say Lewis was found with meth and heroin on him and was booked into jail on drug possession charges.

An alleged gang member, Lewis has six prior arrests with charges including racketeering, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, armed robbery, possession and stolen vehicle charges.

Christopher Salcido (MDC)

“Gang activity is at the center of much of Albuquerque’s gun violence and the trafficking of narcotics,” Mizel Garcia, commander of APD’s Special Investigations Division, said in a statement. “Under Mayor (Tim) Keller and Chief (Michael) Geier’s leadership, we have invested resources and manpower into this problem, and we are seeing results. We are also working as partners with federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as prosecutors, to ensure we are attacking gun violence from all sides.”

Jamil Lewis (MDC)

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