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New N.M. Prison Gang Worries Officials

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Prison officials say a new prison gang — “The Burquenos” — is the most dominant gang behind bars and is threatening to spill over into the community, KOAT-TV and KRQE News 13 are reporting.

Officials said there are currently 240 members of The Burquenos in prisons statewide, up from 170 members reported last year, and while they are not officially recognized as a prison gang, they will be very soon, Action 7 News reported.

According to prison officials, it was members of The Burquenos who attacked and nearly killed convicted rapist-killer Michael Guzman while he was in his cell at a prison facility in Clayton last Nov. 15, KOAT-TV said.

The Burquenos, or the Burque Boys, began when members of different Albuquerque street gangs banded together behind bars, according to KRQE.

“They try to challenge staff for control of our prisons and control of the inmate population,” Dwayne Santistevan, head of the New Mexico Department of Corrections’ Security Threat Intelligence Unit, told News 13. “They charge other inmates rent, cause assaults and what have you.”

The Burquenos get tattoos of Albuquerque’s skyline, the old Albuquerque Dukes logo, the Zia sun symbol and even the University of New Mexico’s Lobo logo, and have a special purpose for the Lobo paw print, according to Santistevan.

“The paw means something,” Santistevan told KRQE. “They had to commit some sort of felonious act or assault to receive those paws.”

Corrections officials said they believe The Burquenos are not only growing in numbers behind bars, but on the streets as well, KRQE said.

“They’re going to be coming to your area,” Santistevan said.

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