Criminal Justice News

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Operation Desert Snow: U.S. Marshals Complete Phase 4 of 5

New Mexico - The Marshals Service has been diligently working with state and local law enforcement officers to arrest violent fugitives in all 33 counties in New Mexico. Operation Desert Snow has five phases which have already been implemented throughout the entire state of New Mexico. The operation is building partnerships between state, county, local and tribal agencies in order to develop an emergency response strategy throughout the entire state. Phases I, II, III and IV have already been completed. Phases V will be conducted by the end of 2015.

Phase I began in the Farmington, New Mexico Four-Corners Area which extends to the Arizona border and encompasses the Navajo Nation. From December 11-14, 2014 the Marshals Service and several of its law enforcement partners began serving warrants in this region. During the two-day operation, law enforcement officers endeavored to serve more than 60 warrants. They were successful in arresting 22 fugitives. All of these fugitive cases targeted violent fugitives.

Phase II of the operation continued February 19-22, 2015, in the Southwest corner of the state, which includes Luna County, Sierra County, Dona Ana County, Otero County and Lincoln County. The Marshals Service and combined local law enforcement task force members endeavored to serve over 100 warrants. They were successful in arresting 24 violent fugitives and clearing 33 warrants in this two- day operation.

Phase III was conducted on June 5 -6, 2015, and focused on 6 counties in the southeastern part of New Mexico, which included Chaves, Eddy, Curry, Lea, Lincoln and Roosevelt counties. This operation cleared a total of 111 warrants and a total of 60 arrests were made, ranging from drug trafficking to aggravated assault.

Phase IV On, June 26th -27th Operation Desert Snow was conducted in the Albuquerque Metro area and included participants in Bernalillo County, Valencia County, Sandoval County and Torrance County. During the two day operation 37 fugitives were arrested, 1 missing person was located and 70 warrants were cleared. Of the almost 100 officers that participated were Law Enforcement Officers from the Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, Valencia County Sheriff’s Department, Los Lunas Police Department, Bosque Farms Police Department, Belen Police Department, Torrance County Sheriff’s Department, Sandoval County Sheriff’s Department, Rio Rancho Police Department, New Mexico Attorney Generals Office, New Mexico State Police, New Mexico Department of Corrections Probation and Parole, NM DOC Security Threat Intelligence Unit, New Mexico High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Marshals Service.

Significant Arrests for Phase IV of Operation Desert Snow

    Assaults/ Battery – 2
    Burglary – 6
    Probation Violation- 19
    Robbery- 1
    Trafficking /drugs/ Narcotics- 8
    Weapons – 2
    Other arrests include, child support, DUI’s, fleeing, larceny, failure to appear in court, resisting arrest and traffic citations.

One of the most notable arrests of the operation was the arrest of Raul Arreola. Arreola was added to the New Mexico’s most wanted program on June 09, 2015 and was wanted on numerous charges including a federal arrest warrant for being a felon in possession of a firearm and 4 state warrants for charges including kidnapping, aggravated battery, probation violations and domestic violence. Arreola was located and arrested in Albuquerque by Deputies and Task Force Officers (TFO) assigned to the United States Marshals Service South West Investigative Fugitive Team (SWIFT) Task Force.

During the operation Law Enforcement Officers located Cynthia Vallejo. Vallejo was a missing person and was last seen April 29th, 2015 when she was allegedly being forced into a vehicle against her will. Vallejo was located and arrested on an outstanding warrant along with Daniel Loya who was also arrested for an outstanding warrant. Loya was originally named in Vallejo’s missing person report.

Since the beginning of Operation Desert Snow there has been 350 arrest/warrants cleared. United States Marshal for the District of New Mexico Conrad E. Candelaria said “The successes from this operation are two-fold, beginning with pursuing safer communities throughout the entire District/State of New Mexico and second, further solidifying the USMS mantra that those that are dangerous and violent will be held accountable for the crimes committed so that New Mexico’s communities and all families can live safely.” With the final phase of the operation still forthcoming the United States Marshals Service expects Operation Desert Snow to be a complete success.

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