FBI report: ABQ teen asleep with loaded machine gun - Albuquerque Journal

FBI report: ABQ teen asleep with loaded machine gun

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An FBI-led task force investigating an Arizona-to-New Mexico drug pipeline executed early morning search warrants this week looking for drugs, guns and three convicts suspected of running drug houses in Southeast Albuquerque.

Along the way, they discovered someone else.

Inside one of the locations was an 18-year-old still asleep in his bedroom, with a loaded machine-gun pistol on his bed, another under his mattress, hundreds of rounds of ammunition loaded into high-capacity magazines nearby as well as more than 1,000 Xanax pills on the dresser and TV stand, according to federal search warrant records unsealed Friday.

His mother was upstairs in the bathroom of the apartment in the 1100 block of High SE when agents breached the front door about 6:30 a.m. after no one answered their knocks and announcements, according to criminal complaints unsealed Friday.

In all, the agents’ inventory from the search shows 19 firearms were seized at the apartment, 17 of which were described as machine guns. That’s because under federal law the term “machine gun” can include any part designed or intended solely to convert a weapon into a machine gun. They were listed as 11 full-automatic selector switches and four full-automatic drop in auto sear devices, federal records state.

A federal criminal complaint states Estevan Antonio Ramirez told agents he had been using Xanax 10 times a week, as well as oxycodone and hydrocodone occasionally.

Ramirez told them, the complaint states, that “he had been looking into attending a drug rehab facility in Taos, N.M. to help him get his life back on track.”

But he is now facing four federal charges, including being a drug user in possession of a firearm, possession of a machine gun, and furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Arrested at a different location was Jeffrey Alan Chavez, aka “40,” who the FBI investigation identified as a suspected gang member who was overseeing drug sales from at least three drug houses in Southeast Albuquerque.

Chavez had an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate judge on Friday and is being held in federal custody. He and Ramirez are set for a detention hearing on Monday.

Chavez is alleged to be the source of drugs for several gang members and street level dealers. A check of his cellphone number showed he had been in “frequent communication with several current and former FBI investigative targets.” They included James C. Cangro, aka HAVIC, an Aryan Nation prison gang member who had skipped town before the FBI’s Violent Gang Task Force planned to arrest him earlier this year. He was later arrested as he crossed into San Diego the same day agents found firearms, methamphetamine and other drugs on his Albuquerque property.

The FBI investigation revealed in court records this week relied in part on a confidential FBI source who reported that Chavez, 35, was leading a “neighborhood” drug trafficking organization in Southeast Albuquerque, had direct contact with a cartel representative in Mexico, and was looking for drivers to go to Arizona to transport vehicles with drugs back to Albuquerque.

Chavez was also recently summoned to Mexico “to answer for missing drug payments and was exposed to some harsh treatment by the cartel,” states an FBI affidavit seeking permission to search three residences and a storage unit.

Chavez, who had served time in Oklahoma and New Mexico prisons, has seven prior felony convictions for burglary, stolen motor vehicles and other crimes.


Lara Yanez (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

He was also known to accept firearms, power tools and other valuables in exchange for drugs, the affidavit states.

“Chavez told the (confidential informant) many of the items were ‘hot’ and had been provided to Chavez by drug clients.”

Now considered a fugitive is Gerardo Rafael Lara-Yanez, 24, who is alleged to have overseen one of the Albuquerque drug houses and recently drove two stolen trucks from Albuquerque to Colorado along with Chavez at the direction of the cartel, the affidavit states. He has a felony conviction for battery upon a peace officer and assault on a peace officer.

The third suspect originally named in the search warrant was Crystal Medina, who was arrested for being in violation of the terms of her state probation at an apartment in the 600 block of Chama SE.

Medina, who is alleged to have run the third drug house in Southeast Albuquerque, is on probation for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, negligent use of a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence and driving under the influence in Valencia County. She reportedly lived with her parents and had been contacted once a month by a state Corrections Department probation officer.

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