ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police are doing anything they can to track down drug dealers and social media is becoming a big tool. It was a three-month operation that identified 34 individuals selling illegal narcotics throughout the Albuquerque area of those 34 people, 18 of whom have been arrested.

“Using social media we pretty much have access to everything and anything. New Mexico state police crime suppression units concentrated on social media to identify those who are selling illegal drugs on social media,” Dusty Francisco, with NMSP.

NMSP wouldn’t disclose what social media platforms they used during their operation but say they use a variety. In addition to the 18 arrests made, they were able to seize three pounds of methamphetamine, 439 fentanyl pills, and 11 grams of cocaine.

The amount of fentanyl on our streets right now is a growing concern. The First Judicial District Attorney’s office recently sent out an alert saying they’ve seen a huge increase including a Rio Arriba man found with 1,300 pills, another with 900, and another with 500. Most drug overdoses from illegally manufactured fentanyl arise when drug traffickers mix fentanyl with other drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, or cocaine. Often, the users do not know they are consuming fentanyl.

NMSP hopes this operation can be a reminder for parents to monitor their children’s phones and computers. 

“We ask that you monitor those sites and make sure whatever sites your children are accessing on social media to make sure they’re safe sites and make sure they’re not communicating with people that they don’t know,” said Francisco.        

The Albuquerque Police Department conducted a similar social media drug operation earlier last month. They said those cases led to several recent robberies, shootings and homicides. APD arrested 10 people during their month-long operation. 

As far as the NMSP operation, 16 suspects are still at large, some with large criminal histories. NMSP has arrest warrants for those individuals but would not release their names. They said investigators are in communication with them to get them to turn themselves in.