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BCSO: Operation results in 17 felony arrests

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales talks to the media about his deputy’s Sept. 4 operation in southeast Albuquerque. (Elise Kaplan / Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A daylong operation by Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies in southeast Albuquerque netted 17 felony and 12 misdemeanor arrests – mainly for outstanding warrants, Sheriff Manuel Gonzales announced at a news conference Friday morning.

Although a spokeswoman said she could not release a full list of people who were arrested, BCSO displayed 12 mug shots that showed the majority were picked up on warrants for failing to appear to court hearings or comply with pretrial conditions. Two were arrested for new charges of possession of a controlled substance.

A BCSO captain said the operation, which was spearheaded by the Gang Recognition and Intelligence Patrol, also resulted in eight gang validations.

After doing three such operations over the past month, Gonzales said he expects to do a bigger operation next week and more in the future as BCSO “expands our footprint into the city.”

“This is an all-hands effort, this is a full court press,” he said. “This isn’t one operation, this is everybody in the department being involved.”

Wednesday’s operation had included 30-35 deputies patrolling the Highland area and was spurred by requests from business owners with HUB 66 (Highland Unified Businesses) who had been having problems with people living on or defecating on their property, doing drugs, committing misdemeanor offenses and experiencing mental health crises.

Three members who attended the news conference said they had noticed the area had been quieter over the past day and a half since the operation.

City officials previously said they feel it’s important for BCSO deputies patrolling in Albuquerque to follow the same policies the police department had agreed to under the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement – particularly those regarding pursuits, use of lapel or dashboard cameras, and use of force. The settlement was put into place after a Department of Justice investigation found APD had a pattern of excessive force against its citizens.

In response, Gonzales said he doesn’t have any intention of ordering his deputies to follow the federally approved policies while patrolling in city limits.

“We have independent offices, we don’t follow their policies,” he said. “Why would we comply with something that doesn’t allow us to totally execute all our constitutional powers? This is an office of the people, and they want to be protected. We have an obligation to protect their property, lives and rights and we’re going to exercise that.”

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