ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen spoke about the recent federal indictment implicating his predecessor, Manny Gonzales along with Laguna Pueblo Police Chief Rudy Mora, in a gun-running scheme. He said there’s still a lot that they don’t know about the guns Gonzales had imported into the United States.
Sheriff Allen said Tuesday that he only learned days ago about the Gonzales being implicated in an illegal scheme. Gonzales is not facing charges at this point.
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The indictment details a multi-state conspiracy involving firearms dealers and law enforcement officials to import automatic weapons that are illegal to buy and sell in the U.S. except for law enforcement purposes. According to federal investigators, gun dealers were getting police chiefs and sheriffs to write letters requesting those guns to get approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives.
The indictments lists almost 130 letters, known as “law letters,” written by Gonzales from 2015 to 2020 requesting almost 600 machine guns. Sheriff Allen was asked if the department was aware of the law letters sent by Gonzales. He responded, “No, and I’m conducting questions on why I wasn’t advised as the current sheriff. Why we weren’t made aware of this.”
The indictment also lists requests from former Laguna Pueblo Police Chief Rudy Mora, who at one time served as Gonzales’s undersheriff. Of those requests, Gonzales’s requests resulted in 7 imports and Mora’s requests resulted in 13 imports.
Sheriff Allen was asked if any of the law letter demonstrations occurred for BCSO. He responded, “That we do not… we have an unknown answer… that is under investigation.”
As for where those guns are, BCSO is trying to figure it out. “We know that they may have been in New Mexico at some point. But not in the BCSO armory, to our knowledge. As we conducted an audit,” said Sheriff Allen.
Sheriff Allen said in light of the allegations, he wants the public to know how his department is investigating firearms in its possession. His department has been investigating the source of dozens of AK-47s and other firearms in BCSO’s inventory that were transferred from the Laguna Police Department in 2015 but it does not appear they are related to the federal indictment.
Meanwhile, he said the department does have machine guns for demonstration purposes that are not used by deputies but again, they are not the ones Sheriff Gonzales requested.
News 13 reached out to Gonzales and Mora but did not hear back from them.