Feds arrest hundreds, seize drugs in Operation Washout Roswell

Crime

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Crime in New Mexico continues to be a growing problem. Friday, federal and local law enforcement announced the results of an operation in southeast New Mexico that led to the arrest of 100 suspected criminals. Operation Washout Roswell ran from Nov. 16 to Nov. 19.

According to a news release from the U.S. Marshal Service, Operation Washout is a national initiative focused on the investigation and arrest of violent fugitives with active arrest warrants, by providing an immediate-impact operational model meant to support partner agencies and provide communities with relief from violent crime. 

“A lot of that is drug smuggling, a lot of those drugs end up here and end up on the streets in these communities, we have an obligation to help,” said Eric, the Special Agent in charge of the Homeland Security New Mexico and West Texas Division.

The U.S. Marshals Office, DEA, and local law enforcement agencies made 100 arrests in a week. They targeted violent criminals and drug organizations in Roswell.

“October 2019, along with our law enforcement partners we initiated an investigation into a drug trafficking organization operating here in Roswell; They were trafficking very large amounts of methamphetamine,” said Kyle Williamson, Special Agent in charge of the DEA, El Paso Division.

The arrests this week was the culmination of a year-long investigation. Seventeen people were arrested apart of the same drug ring on a 66-count indictment. Authorities confiscated weapons, drugs, and money in the raids. The Fifth Judicial District Attorney said Roman Reyes-Mesa, who is still on the loose and wanted for conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, is why the operation happened.

The DA’s office, Chaves County, Lea County, and the Roswell Police Chief expressed the importance of having federal agencies involved.

“So what we have to do to make sure that these people don’t continue to act and degrade the community here and our quality of life is we bring in our federal partners,” said Roswell Police Chief Philip Smith.

The special agent in charge of the DEA El Paso Division said operations like this will happen more frequently.

“We will do a few operations a year, we will look at some of the biggest problems or biggest threats in the area and we will go after those but then afterward we’re gone, but not this time,” said DEA Special Agent Kyle Williamson.

In addition, the DEA seized 120 pounds of methamphetamine worth over a million dollars at street value.

“We made over 100 arrests this week also seized 17 firearms and also seized about 6,000 grams of narcotics including heroin, meth, and marijuana,” Sonya K. Chavez, Special Agent in charge for the U.S. Marshals Office, New Mexico Division.

Federal officials said Ramon Reyes-Mesa may have already fled to Mexico. They’re asking anyone who knows where he is, to call the police.

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