Law enforcement agencies including the Española Police Department, the New Mexico State Police and the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office served an early morning warrant Tuesday with support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Officers met at the Dreamcatcher 10 theater just after 5 a.m. as the sun prepared to crest the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.
The search warrant was for suspected narcotics.
Department interim deputy chief Jack Jones said the cooperation between the agencies was a strong message to anyone committing crimes in the area.
“This is just a message to those people that are doing criminal activity in the city of Española and the county of Rio Arriba,” Jones said. “Our intent is to make it a better place for the citizens of Española to live.”
As the sun rose above the horizon, a convoy of law enforcement led by the Department made its way down State Road 106 to State Road 76. From there, the convoy made a right turn eventually traveling north on South McCurdy Road. Then, at Park Street, the convoy again turned right and drove nearly to the end of the Millagro Village Mobile Home Park.
Jones said this is the first of many operations by the combined law enforcement agencies, as the city police take the lead in trying to combat drug trafficking and other major criminal activity in the area.
“This is an effort by the Española Police Department and surrounding agencies to make the city a safer place for citizens,” Jones said. “We want to ensure that the criminal element knows we are here and there are consequences for their actions.”
Officers blocked off Park street to all traffic as they entered the home to conduct a search for narcotics and firearms.
FBI Spokesman Frank Fisher said in June the federal task force was active in the area. The Department and the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office have officers that contribute to the task force, who were present during the early morning raid.
“The FBI, working with (Española Police Department), our task force officer, and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Region 3 executed a federal search warrant this morning,” Fisher said Tuesday. “Because this is an active investigation, no further comment can be made at this time.”
Jones said Tuesday morning the search was ongoing and additional information would not be released by the Department.
“I’m proud of the work our officers did this morning,” Department interim chief Roger Jimenez said. “And look forward to many more successful operations with our federal partners.”
The Department first entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the FBI under the leadership of former chief Louis Carlos. It was first presented the agreement to the city’s Public Safety Committee in October 2018.
“It’s crucial that we forge relationships with federal resources to combat the myriad of issues that effect our community,” Mayor Javier Sanchez said Tuesday morning after learning of the operation.
He said he was happy to see the Department working closely with the FBI to address crime issues in the city under Jimenez’s leadership.