ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An infamous New Mexico prison gang is now in the crosshairs of the FBI. Federal agents say a five-year investigation shows Syndicato De Nuevo Mexico members are reorganizing and going after informants, and agents and prosecutors.
Wednesday night, the FBI raided six different homes in Albuquerque. Thursday morning, that search spread to six other cities, targeting homes in Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Espanola and Wagon Mound as federal agents searched for any evidence to help lock up key members of the violent prison gang “SNM.”
A gang started after the deadly 1980 Santa Fe prison riot is only growing in numbers and boldness. A just unsealed federal search warrant lays out how federal agents say leaders of the Syndicato De Nuevo Mexico prison gang are giving their 250 active members new rules to target informants, witnesses, federal agents and prosecutors.
The nearly five-year investigation came to a head in July following the murder Leroy Lucero, also known as “Smurf,” a former SNM member who became a government witness. Agents believe SNM orchestrated the hit and killed him in his Las Vegas driveway.
Following the hit, agents determined there are other active murder threats and went searching for evidence. One of the first places they did was at the Albuquerque home of Greg “Jinx” Montoya.
Agents say he, and “Shotgun” Raul Guzman, also of Albuquerque, are the guys now telling members to “smash any government rat on site.” In Las Vegas, they also searched the home of Luis Sanchez, who allegedly shot at the home of a former member and said, “If you call the cops, we’ll come back and kill you.”
The nearly 200-page warrant outlines dozens of other examples of members making threats. Like in 2016, when agents got a hold of the gang’s “Green Light” list ordering hits on several [corrections department] employees, jail staff members and cooperating defendants.”
Thursday’s search was part of an ongoing investigation and effort to chip away at New Mexico’s largest prison gang.
So far, this operation has resulted in 127 arrests and solved nine cold case murders in the state. The FBI says the operation is still ongoing.
A great number of the people arrested Thursday have been charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. At this point, it’s unclear what other charges they may face or what evidence was collected.