ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police said they’re organized, armed, dangerous and very young; a group of teens police have linked to crimes happening around Albuquerque.
“I have officers that have had contact with these individuals and they brag about it,” Ofc. Fred Duran said. “They know they’re going to be released and they know they are going to be back out on the streets.”
The Albuquerque Police Department is hesitant to call this group a gang. They don’t want to release the name of the group because they don’t want to promote them or help them recruit more members.
Thursday, police didn’t discuss specific crimes members of this group have committed, but named some of the members in cases they have confirmed to News 13 in recent weeks.
Two weeks ago, deputies say five teens lured a man to a home then held him at gunpoint and took his car. They were spotted by deputies and according to a criminal complaint, led them on a chase before crashing into an off duty APD officer. The officer was injured with broken bones, a deputy was injured during the chase.
Police have even connected three of them to the drive-by shooting death of 18-year-old Aliyah Garcia in the South Valley back in May.
Then in September, a Great Dane was shot and killed during a home burglary in Sandia Park. Police tied two men, Reymundo Lucero and Daniel Sandoval, to that burglary.
According to APD, this group of teenagers is getting more aggressive because they’re not afraid of getting in trouble. Police say officers are tired of arresting these teens and have a strong message for juvenile judges.
“They need to look at the totality of the circumstances,” Lt. Michelle Campbell said. “Their crimes are violent, they’ve been escalating and within two years they’ve gone from a tagger group to committing homicides, carjackings and the list goes on-and-on.”
Police say detectives have been monitoring them the for the last two years. They say just recently, their crimes became more prevalent and more violent. APD said its intent isn’t to scare the public, but to make people aware of the potential dangers of coming into contact with any one of these teens.
“They’re organized and they’ve sent the message that they have no regard for life or respect for authority, it’s obvious in the recent contacts we’ve had with them, especially on the roadway when they’re running from police,” Duran said.
APD did not release a number of juveniles they think are involved in the group. Police suspect these teens are heavily involved with drugs, especially methamphetamine.
Police believe the youngest member is 13 years old, and the oldest just 21.