NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A Los Lunas man, who was released from federal prison three months ago and has decades of criminal history, is charged with murder. Andrew Gallegos is accused of stabbing a Belen man in the neck and killing him last month near the La Hacienda Apartments in Belen. Gallegos was released from federal custody earlier this year for a case connected to a different murder.
On July 27, 47-year-old Andrew Gallegos, also known as “Smiley,” got into a fight with Les Fertic behind the La Hacienda Apartments. According to the Valencia County District Attorney, surveillance video shows the incident. The pretrial detention motion describes a loud bang being heard on the footage, followed by Gallegos and Fertic getting into a fight.
The victim is seen walking away with a towel to his neck, going to the location where EMS would eventually reach him. According to the motion, he later died from his wounds. A judge agreed to keep Gallegos behind bars until trial for this case.
Gallegos has a long criminal history. In a federal case in 2012, Gallegos was charged and convicted with his brother on charges in connection with the murder of Adrian Burns. Prosecutors say Burns was a drug dealer whose body was found burned in the bosque. Gallegos was given life in prison for this in 2020. However, the sentence didn’t last long; it was overturned just three years later, this past April.
The Court of Appeals found that the feds had not done enough to support the racketeering charge he was convicted of. However, they did note, “the Government offered sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Andrew Gallegos and Joe Gallegos murdered Mr. Burns.”
Despite that, Gallegos walked free just three months before this latest charge. Prior to that 2012 incident, Gallegos’ criminal record stretches back to 1993 and includes a nine-year stint in prison for rape.
This case has been moved to the district court. Gallegos is awaiting arraignment on the murder charge.