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‘Brewtown Queen’ faces federal drug charges

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Elizabeth Perez, known as the “Brewtown Queen,” and her son have been on the radar of federal and local narcotics agents for the last 10 years.

But until last month, law enforcement didn’t have much success putting the two alleged members of the “Brewtown Spider Locos” street gang out of business.

According to court records, informants told federal agents that Elizabeth Perez controlled the distribution of high-quality crack cocaine between Interstate 40 north to Griegos Road NW and from Second Street west to 12th Street – an area known for years as “Brewtown.” The informants said the 58-year-old grandmother wouldn’t allow other drug dealers to operate in the area.

Documents describe a multi-generation family affair that also involved Perez’s son, Christopher “Chuco” Perez, selling drugs from his home, and then sending his own son to make deliveries.

Through the years, Elizabeth Perez had been arrested five times on state narcotics charges, but all were dismissed.

“Chuco” Perez pleaded guilty in 2016 to a felony state drug charge – he bargained earlier drug charges down to misdemeanors – but never showed up to begin serving his one-year sentence. He’s been on the lam ever since – living next door to his mother.

Now, both are in custody and facing federal charges that could land them in prison for years.

According to a recently unsealed search warrant, FBI and APD served a search warrant on both Perez homes in the 300 block of Aztec NW, recovering drugs and a cache of weapons.

Agents found an undisclosed amount of crack cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl pills. They seized two semi-automatic rifles, handguns, body armor and more than $7,000.

Elizabeth Perez is now charged with possessing cocaine base (crack cocaine) with intent to distribute. A criminal complaint against Christopher Perez has not yet been unsealed.

Under investigation

Elizabeth and Christopher Perez have been under investigation since at least 2010, when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than $28,000 from them during a drug investigation.

They weren’t charged in the case but according to court records half the money was seized by federal prosecutors.

In 2012, according to a search warrant affidavit, they were identified by the FBI as members of a street gang called “Brewtown Spider Locos” and Elizabeth Perez became known as the “Queen” of the gang.

This summer, agents followed her on her daily drug delivery route in the neighborhood, watching her drop off drugs to eight of her customers. It was all part of their latest investigation, which began when agents arranged a controlled crack cocaine purchase from Elizabeth Perez by a cooperating individual.

The person making the drug buy told agents that Elizabeth Perez sold “Black, Clear and Powder” – street names for heroin, methamphetamine and powder cocaine.

Another cooperating person told agents he or she was present when Perez cooked crack cocaine in her kitchen. Christopher Perez seldom left the house because of the warrant issued for his arrest after he failed to report for his jail sentence. He is readily recognizable because of the spiderweb tattoo on his chin bracketed by the letters, “B” and “T” – the initials for Brewtown.

According to the search warrant affidavit filed last month and unsealed in the last few days, the confidential informant said Christopher Perez sold drugs from the house and was heavily armed. If he needed to deliver drugs to a customer, he sent his son to make the delivery, according to the affidavit.

Christopher’s son, identified in the court records only as “Lil Chuco,” was shot and wounded at a party in May. Records don’t show “Lil Chuco’s” age or any arrest in connection with that investigation.

Released from halfway house

After her arrest in September, Elizabeth Perez was sent to a halfway house. She was released to third-party custody of her mother with electronic monitoring after a COVID-19 outbreak at the halfway house.

Christopher Perez is being held at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center on a no-bond hold for the 2016 failure to appear and the unsealed federal criminal complaint.

After agents searched the two homes, Elizabeth Perez allegedly volunteered to agents that there was crack cocaine in her car hidden behind a compartment in the dashboard.

According the criminal complaint, Perez told agents she didn’t use drugs but would buy a half ounce of crack cocaine and sell it for $20 a “rock” – an individual portion. She also told agents she had about $5,000 in her backpack.

“Perez explained that her son and grandson live with her and they use heroin,” the criminal complaint states.

She told officers she used to get heroin for her son because he did not like to leave the house since he has a warrant out for his arrest.

“She also explained,” the complaint said, “that her grandson (Lil Chuco) started using heroin when he was so young someone had to inject him because (he) did not know how to use the needle.”

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