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Officers go undercover in drug bust at strip club

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two women who work as dancers at a Downtown strip club are behind bars after police say they sold a combined $60 worth of cocaine to undercover officers in the club, according to court documents.

Linda Acevedo, 33, was arrested on one count of trafficking a controlled substance. Belinda Cortinas, 29, was arrested on three charges, including possession and trafficking of a controlled substance.

The Albuquerque Police Department Narcotics Unit conducted an undercover operation at Knockouts, a strip club located on Central near Third on Friday.

“This operation was set in place to curb the spike in criminal/narcotics activity within the establishment,” one detective wrote in a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.

In a separate criminal complaint, another detective wrote that the police department received “numerous complaints about narcotics being sold inside the club.”

Just before midnight Friday, a detective said, he saw Acevedo, dressed in a neon green leotard “conducting an exotic dance on the main stage,” shortly before she approached him, according to the complaint. He asked whether “she would like to go somewhere private,” and Acevedo escorted him to the “private lap dance area” where the two “engaged in small talk.”

The detective asked Acevedo whether she could “score” him $60 worth of cocaine, according to the complaint. She told him she could get him $40 worth. The detective handed over two $20 bills, which Acevedo placed in her bra.

“After completion of the lap dance” Acevedo met him at the bar with a small plastic bag of cocaine, according to the complaint.

The detective used “a pre-determined arrest signal,” and a standby arrest team took Acevedo into custody. She was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center; her bond was set at $15,000 cash or surety.

Meanwhile, dancer Cortinas was talking with a second detective, who was also working undercover, “posing as a drug buyer,” according to a criminal complaint.

The detective reported that shortly after he walked into the club, he started talking to Cortinas, who told him that she “makes a decent amount of money dancing,” but “hustles” on the side.

Cortinas told the detective that she had cocaine, and he told her that he wanted $20 worth. He tucked two $10 bills into her underwear, and she handed him a plastic bag of cocaine.

Detectives said they later found more cocaine on Cortinas, along with three bags of marijuana and two pills for which she did not have a prescription, according to the complaint.

She was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center; her bond is set at $32,500 cash or surety.

Detectives made a similar arrest in February after another Knockouts dancer reportedly sold $20 worth of cocaine to an undercover officer.

The case against Jolene Mehring has since been dismissed, according to online court documents. The documents report that the state will proceed on charges to a grand jury.

–Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

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