ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The DEA says a lot of bad things were happening inside the Best Choice Inn on Central and Charleston. Tuesday, they raided the motel, taking several people into custody, and they say it’s just the beginning.
DEA agents, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, APD officers, the Attorney General’s Office, and Homeland Security swarmed the Best Choice Inn they say is feeding this city’s crime problem.
“The DEA, what we do is target highest level drug traffickers in the U.S. and the world, and this is part of that. We also live in this community, go to school here, work here, and realize our community has a problem,” said Scott Garland, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge.
The DEA said it can’t get into all the specifics, but did say several overdose deaths have been linked to the motel. The agency specifically mentioned the drug fentanyl, which has become a huge problem.
However, the DEA says this case also deals with human trafficking. Agents said when they were looking not only for people staying at the motel but for those who “have ties to the location and were using it to further their criminal activity.”
Neighbors say the motel is a well-known trouble spot. “This hotel is known for prostitution, is where ladies work in the street…usually stay for vagrants, transient people…kind of serves as a hub for this area,” Taariq Aakil said.
Neighbors say they’re happy to see the bust, saying it’s a step in the right direction, tackling Albuquerque’s crime problem.
There were at least 50 officers and agents on scene Tuesday. They say this is a big case they’ve been working on for more than a year.
DEA officials say several people have already been indicted on drug trafficking charges. They anticipate many more arrests as the investigation continues.