FBI, ABQ unit geared toward Brew City Locos, “Albuquerque Journal
Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
FBI agents raided the homes of suspected members of the Brew Town Locos street gang this week and confiscated 3 pounds of methamphetamine and over a dozen firearms, including a machine gun.
The gang, also referred to as the BTL in court documents, allegedly receives fentanyl and other drugs from the Juarez cartel for distribution in Albuquerque.
Working with the Albuquerque Police Department gang unit, state police, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies, the FBI arrested seven suspected gang members and staff.
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They were indicted individually in criminal complaints from the Federal Court of Justice or arrested for violating the conditions of their supervised release after serving their federal prison sentences.
According to affidavits in the search warrant, the FBI believes members of the Brew Town Locos have been supplying drugs to gang members already in federal custody through the mail and through corrupt prison staff.
According to court records, the gang has been claiming territory in Albuquerque since the early 1970s bounded by I-40 to the south, Montano Road to the north, Edith Boulevard to the east, and 12th Street to the west.
But according to the search warrant’s affidavit, the gang has spread to Grants and Taos.
Brew Town Locos are considered an “old school” Albuquerque gang, according to the FBI, in which new members are “born into the gang” or recruited by high-ranking members.
The warrant does not describe how the gang is structured, but members wear tattoos of spiders, gang logos, and the numbers 107, which are the last three digits of the area’s zip code – 87107.
The gang was the focus of the FBI’s Violent Crime Task Force last year. Federal documents appear to show that agents are trying to set up a federal blackmail case against the gang, like the RICO Act cases that have resulted in life sentences in federal prisons for members of the infamous prison gang Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico (SNM) over the past six years.
The affidavits relate to shootings involving members of the Brew Town Locos gang and a murder in an inexplicable case. But the affidavits don’t give much detail about the circumstances or the victims.
Agents find weapons and drugs
Based on the search warrant affidavits, the investigation focused on the activities of David “Flaco” Chavez, 43, and Orlando Roybal, 39, both of whom were arrested.
Both men have long criminal arrest histories, and each has been convicted of severe convictions in state and federal courts.
In 2014, Chavez and Roybal were sentenced to federal prisons for being in possession of firearms and were released under custody after serving their sentences.
Chavez had become aware of federal agents in a separate investigation during which they had covertly made drug purchases from Chavez.
Roybal’s name came up in a DEA investigation into a Mexican national who sold fentanyl.
According to the search warrant’s affidavit, Roybal was one of several members of the Brew Town Locos gang who received large quantities of counterfeit oxycodone pills with fentanyl from Jorge Ochoa-Perez.
Ochoa-Perez will be charged with federal drug offenses earlier this spring for selling thousands of the pills to undercover agents for the DEA. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
The court records in the Ochoa-Perez case make no mention of any association with the Juarez cartel, but DEA has stated that cartels are responsible for the fentanyl tablets that enter the United States.
During a search of Roybal’s apartment in Block 5700 of Osuna NE, agents found four AR-15 rifles, a shotgun, an “open-bolt” -style machine gun, an AK-47 rifle, four pistols, and numerous magazines for them Firearms, ammunition, about $ 10,000, 2.9 pounds of methamphetamine, and some pills suspected of containing fentanyl.
According to court records, Roybal told federal agents after his arrest that he had moved out of the old neighborhood and was no longer “gangbanging”.
During a search of Chavez’s home in Block 4900 of Olympia NW, agents found four firearms, including an AR rifle.
According to court records, Chavez told agents that he traded drugs for three of the firearms.
Roybal is charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, a felon in possession of a firearm and in possession of a firearm to promote a drug trafficking crime. At least one of the charges is linked to a possible 20-year federal prison sentence.
Chavez was not formally charged in the latest investigation, but court records indicate that his federal probation officers are seeking to end his supervised release pending charges from the latest investigation.
Drug trafficking in prison
Prior to the recent arrests, seven suspected Brew Town Locos members were held at the Cibola County Correctional Center near Grants on pending federal charges or violating their conditions of supervised release after serving in federal prisons.
FBI sources told agents, according to search warrant affidavits, that gang members were involved in drug trafficking within the federal wing of the district facility.
Members of the Brew Town Locos had teamed up with members of the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico and Mexican national prisoners with no ties to organized gangs to smuggle fentanyl tablets and strips of Suboxone into prison.
According to court records, the drugs were brought to prison through fake “legal” mail by Brew Town Locos employees.
The mail is said to be similar to the mail from law firms representing inmates, but is sent from addresses in the Brew Town neighborhood.
Agents cited incidents in which Suboxone strips were confiscated from such mail.
According to the search warrant’s affidavits, “corrupt prison workers smuggled drugs into the facility.”
According to court records, two employees have been arrested in the past few months for taking drugs to prison.
But these weren’t the only drug routes into prison.
According to the affidavits, “a person appeared for a federal probation violation and successfully smuggled drugs into” the prison.