ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With ties to the largest fentanyl bust in FBI history, at least three people are in custody as federal and local agents started raiding several Albuquerque properties in special operation Thursday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albuquerque office says the local “Violent Gang Task Force” is serving warrants on multiple locations in the South Valley, including at least one home near Coors and Arenal.
In a news briefing by one of the raided homes just before 8 a.m., Albuquerque FBI Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda said the operation is linked to a September 1, 2022 seizure. During that raid last year, FBI and task force agents took more than one-million fentanyl pills and mounds of cash while executing 16 search warrants.
Along with the raid at the home near Coors and Arenal, Bujanda said the task force is expected to serve warrants at three other nearby properties in the South Valley Thursday. Bujanda was unable to provide details on what exactly agents found Thursday, however it said “preliminary results” indicate “a lot of guns and some drug.” When asked if the seized drugs were fentanyl, Bujanda said “if we’re going back to what we did in September, that’s a safe assumption to make.”
Bujanda qualified the group targeted in Thursday’s operation as “an associated group” to the same group busted in September. FBI Director Christopher Wray said that operation was the “largest” fentanyl bust in the Bureau’s history. FBI photos of the operation revealed wheelbarrows full of bags of cash totaling more than $1.8 million. At least 37 firearms were also found.
Speaking of the latest operation, Bujanda alluded to a déjà vu state of addressing violent crime in Albuquerque, while also referencing the 2000’s hit song “It Wasn’t Me,” by reggae-pop music artist Shaggy.
“So we’ll continue what we’re doing, on a daily basis and we’re going to talk to these individuals, they’re going to tell us, just like Shaggy said, right? ‘It Wasn’t Me,’” Bujanda said. “But the reality we’ll keep doing it because its the right thing to do.”
More details about the operation are expected to be revealed in search warrant affidavits filed in the federal court system. The Albuquerque FBI said it would continue raids at properties through Thursday. The task force is comprised of officers, deputies and agents from the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, New Mexico State Police, Albuquerque Police, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Rio Rancho Police and Laguna Police.