By Roger Lanse

Eight people with Silver City addresses were arrested on several drug-related crimes Tuesday, Sept. 12, by officers of the Silver City Police Department. It all started, according to an affidavit for arrest, on July 7, 2017, when a traffic stop was conducted on a vehicle driven by Christopher Murillo, of Silver City. The routine stop quickly turned into a narcotics investigation and the vehicle was impounded and a search warrant was obtained that same day. The search of the vehicle turned up 32.83 grams of a black tar substance which later tested presumptive positive for heroin, 1.15 pounds of a green, leafy substance which later tested presumptive positive for marijuana, and a white crystal-like residue which later tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine. Also recovered were packaging material and paraphernalia, a firearm, and two cell phones.

Murrillo was charged on July 10, with two counts of trafficking of a controlled substance, one count of distribution of marijuana, as well as other offenses, and an active warrant was issued for his arrest. Also on July 10, a second search warrant was obtained for Murillo’s cell phone, the affidavit stated. From the phone, officers were able to compile a list of individuals suspected of trafficking narcotics. Based on conversations found on the phone, Gabriel Pena, Estrella Lynn Jimenez, Albert Chacon Morales Jr., Andrew Timothy Jimenez, Vincent A. Sosaya, Dolorita R. Gomez, Arturo P. Cruz and Ashley Celeste Collins were charged with various drug-related felonies, including conspiracy to commit trafficking of a controlled substance, accessory to trafficking of a controlled substance, criminal solicitation, conspiracy to commit distribution of a controlled substance, and accessory to distribution of a controlled substance.

Quote from the affidavit, “There are numerous conversations that were discovered on a phone belonging to him(Murillo) that talk about clear, black or skeena or negra, as well as cron, chronic, fire, trees, which are references to methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana, respectively. There are also many references to quantities requested and prices listed that coincide with the above listed narcotics. Not all individuals have been identified on Christopher’s phone, but I believe there is sufficient evidence that identifies them and shows the above listed individuals conspired with Christopher Murillo to traffic narcotics and are accessories to his crimes based on their requests for narcotics from Christopher that he has been charged with, the quantities of narcotics requested, and the frequency that they requested narcotics. Others provided Christopher with a place to stay so that he could traffic narcotics, obtained money for him, and held narcotics for him, or offered to provide him with narcotics.”

According to Grant County Detention Center staff, as of the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 15, only Pena remains in custody, the other seven having been released by court order. Murillo remains at large.

Funding for the operation came from the Department of Homeland Security.

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