Letter of Concern from Otero County Sheriff David Black
As Sheriff of Otero County, I would like to share with you the impact the recent border crisis has had on our community in Otero County as well as the impact the deployment of 6 New Mexico State Police Officers from our community to assist the Albuquerque Police Department.
Otero County is dealing with a huge influx in drugs coming into Otero County via 2 main drug smuggling corridors. With the removal of the National Guard Troops from our southern border, the United States Border Patrol Check points closing on March 25, 2019, and reallocation of the New Mexico State Police, crime is on the rise in Otero County. We at the Otero County Sheriff’s Office have redirected all of our unobligated patrol efforts to highway interdiction on US 54 and US 70.
We have had several multi agency operations including the Alamogordo Police Department, New Mexico State Police, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In February 2019, we joined with these agencies to become part of the White Mountain Narcotics task force. As of this date we have been able to seize approximately $121,000.00 in narcotics just in Otero County. In February we seized approximately $3500 worth of drugs. In March of 2019 approximately $23,000.00. In April of 2019 approximately $62,790.00 worth of drugs in Otero County. Each month the amount grows. In addition to the drugs we have made 32 felony arrests and seized a large number of guns. We were also able to solve 5 burglaries with information from these arrests, in addition to seizing 14 vehicles and large amounts of cash all with a nexus to Mexico and drug smuggling.
Today our resources are stretched thin as we have relied on the New Mexico State Police to assist in several of these operations. With the recent decision by the Governor of the State of New Mexico to reassign 50 New Mexico State Police Officers to the Albuquerque area for help, this has taken resources from all of the counties leaving numerous counties in crisis with even less resources to combat these problems and others.
Due to the lack of manpower resources, we have had to cancel several pending operations as we do not have the manpower to safely complete these operations without the help of our New Mexico State Police and US Border Patrol counterparts.
While lending our resources are helping to reduce the Albuquerque crime problems our more rural areas of New Mexico are paying the price. With the reduction in police presence in our community and our borders being wide open, crime is now on the rise in Otero County and I suspect in other counties as well.
In order to protect the citizens of Otero County we now find ourselves in the same predicament as Albuquerque, a manpower shortage. Robbing Peter to pay Paul just won't work. Regardless of your party affiliation, we have a serious crisis in southern New Mexico at the border.
Governor Grisham has said that this problem is not her problem, that it is a Federal level problem. When the uninterrupted flow of drugs, crime and human trafficking is coming into the state of New Mexico it is all our problem.
I would implore her to re-examine what is happening in the southern part of our great State.
Sheriff, Otero County NM