SANTA FE (KRQE) - Drunk driving is an ongoing problem in New Mexico, and Saturday, law enforcement officers in Santa Fe tried to make it clear it won't be tolerated. Knocking on doors, they hit up several homes hunting for DWI suspects with outstanding warrants.
Door after door, the Santa Fe Sheriff's Office, Santa Fe Police, New Mexico State Police and the Department of Public Safety teamed up looking for offenders.
"We team up and we try and serve as many warrants as we possibly can in a six hour period," explained Lieutenant William Pacheco, of the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.
They targeted roughly 40 people with outstanding warrants, looking for those who didn't show up to court or violated probation. Deputies said they want those people to be held accountable. Lt. Pacheco said authorities also want to send the message that DWI will not be tolerated in Santa Fe County.
When law enforcement showed up to one home, a woman told officers her daughter wasn't there and allowed officers to search inside. Minutes later, the woman's daughter was escorted out in handcuffs and taken to jail.
Ana Vargas, 28, is just one of many on the list of warrants for not complying with probation after an aggravated DWI arrest in November.
Lorrine Esparza, 38, was arrested in the roundup for the same thing. Police said she appeared drunk when they arrested her.
"I think everybody knows that New Mexico has a high level of DWIs," said Lt. Pacheco. "Santa Fe County is not one that's immune to it."
Multiple attempts were made to contact those with warrants. Not all of them were successful or ended in an arrest.
However, their presence to get the word out by talking to neighbors, and letting suspects know about their warrants, was all an attempt at stopping a bigger problem.
"Unfortunately, we're seeing repeat offenders, and that's what we are trying to nip at the bud right now so people don't repeat DWI," explained Lt. Pacheco.
Lt. Pacheco said they also want to get the message out to the community that driving while intoxicated is not worth it.
A New Mexico Traffic Safety Division grant funded Saturday's operation, which allowed officers to work overtime. In the past three years of the roundup operations, law enforcement has cleared about 1,200 DWI warrants in Santa Fe County.
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