Editor’s Note: * Some viewers may find some of the imagery disturbing
NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A massive statewide operation, targeting two dozen homes, turned up guns, drugs, and more, as the feds went after members of the notorious outlaw motorcycle gang, the Bandidos. This after investigators believe gang members were preparing for retaliation following the Red River biker rally shooting in May.
“If you wanted our attention then you got it,” said Raul Bujanda, FBI Special Agent in charge.
That was the message Bujanda, had Thursday as more than a dozen agencies worked together to execute 25 search warrants across all corners of the state, following the deadly biker rally shooting in Red River Memorial Day weekend.
The raids taking place in: Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Belen, Tome, Grants, San Rafael, Gallup, Farmington, Hobbs, Alamogordo, Ruidoso, Capitan, and Arabela.
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“Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Well before dawn this morning, the Bandidos found out what prize their reckless behavior had won them,” said Chief Troy Weisler of the New Mexico State Police Department.
In a 173-page federal affidavit, the FBI revealed details about what investigators believe was the bandidos’ plans to retaliate, after two of their gang members were killed in a shootout with another motorcycle gang – the Water Dogs, who lost one member in the shootout.
This stemming from a photo a Water Dog took alongside a member of a third gang, the Mongols, a known rival of the Bandidos. The Bandido-Mongol feud has ramped up in recent years as investigators say the Mongols are trying to expand into New Mexico.
“What you have there is a gang mentality, and that call for violence that the bandidos have and the rivalry they have with the Mongols. Really, law enforcement is getting in the way of what they are trying to do,” said Bujanda.
Thursday, the FBI called in their own swat team to assist in the raids, coming from as far as Denver, Los Angeles and Richmond, Virginia. The discoveries, investigators said, will help them curb the violence and charge those responsible.
“It’s resonating right now, since this morning, it’s resonating within the gang itself because people are wondering amongst themselves who said what,” said Bujanda.
151 guns were recovered, along with thousands of rounds of ammo. Law enforcement also found ballistic vests, fentanyl, meth and cocaine plus a stolen police radio. Photos released by the FBI show a number of guns they found along with other items: a signed New Mexico flag, symbols for the “1%er” – a term embraced by outlaw motorcycle gangs, bags full of cash – and several items bearing Nazi imagery.
“We are going to test those firearms, we are going to see if they have been attributed to other crimes. If they are, then yeah, there’s going to be other arrests,” said Bujanda.
Three people have been charged criminally, two at the state level, Kenneth Martinez and Henry Mascarenas. One federally, Jonathan Bivins. At the Bivins’s home, law enforcement found 13 guns. Bivins has previous felony charges. “We think there is about 75 to 100 bandidos here in the state, we only hit 25 today. Pretty sure we are going to learn about the rest of them after today.”
The FBI said more charges are on the way, but it could take time because of how many people are involved in the gang. “This is not a 5 to 10 range, but in the hundreds. They do things in coordinated efforts, they do it in a big group and sometimes it makes it very hard when they do commit a crime because you don’t know exactly who did it,” said Bujanda.
The FBI says since 2020, 11 people were killed across three states in Bandido-Mongol violence.