ABQ Reports: ABQ Has Brought Mexican Drug Cartel Upon Itself

Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque Police Department Sergeant after 20 years of public service. He has been a small business owner in the private sector now for 15 years. Mr. Klein has been a reporter for both on line news outlets the ALB Free Press and ABQ Reports. On September 26, 2019, ABQ Reports published the following article entitled “Albuquerque, can you handle the truth about crime? Mexican drug cartel already here” written by Dan Klein and followed by the link to ABQ Reports:

(NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are those of Dan Klein and do not necessarily reflect those of the www.petedinelli.com blog).

In just three hours on September 13, 2019, Albuquerque exploded in the worse outbreak of violent crime this city has ever experienced. Five people murdered, six more shot, in three separate incidents in three different areas of town. You would think the citizens of Albuquerque would be enraged and demanding an end to the violence, but you would be wrong.

Albuquerque has become numb to the obvious: we are living in a violent crime-ridden city. How do I know this? One reason is the local mainstream media. Instead of staying on top of this horrible story, within days the local TV news was back to stories about dogs and cats. Apparently, dog and cat stories get viewers, murdered residents don’t.

It’s not just the media that has grown numb to the crime epidemic, it’s our local politicians too. Just three days after these horrendous murders, City Councilor Pat Davis decided to write an op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal going after Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales for having his deputies patrol parts of Albuquerque. Davis makes this ridiculous assertion, “If the sheriff wants to achieve lasting results and lower crime in the city, we can show him how.” Really Pat? Do you really believe crime is going down, or is it just going unreported? Ask the citizens in your district, or anywhere in Albuquerque, and they will tell you that crime is not going down; if anything, it is heading the other direction.

That is the problem, the local media is tired of reporting on crime and our elected officials are either oblivious or trying to tell us not to believe our lying eyes.

The truth is, Albuquerque crime is out of control.

Murders are on track to surpass record-setting past years. For the last ten years Albuquerque has found itself unable to solve a number of these murders. This brings me to the ugly truth of what is happening to Albuquerque.

I asked an expert, Alex Marentes, about his thoughts of Albuquerque crime epidemic. Marentes is a good friend. He is a retired Albuquerque Police Officer and he is the owner and founder of the website www.borderlandbeat.com which gathers information on the drug wars going on in Mexico. He also has written a book with the same name, Borderland Beat, that I highly recommend to everyone to read. Marentes’ insight into the Mexican cartels is frightening.

Marentes states that most of the drugs in Albuquerque are being distributed by the Sinaloa Cartel. THE MAJORITY OF ALL DRUGS IN ALBUQUERQUE! Albuquerque has become a drug distribution center for the rest of the nation. He is positive that there are safe houses (and warehouses) full of illegal drugs, smuggled people and guns. He said that APD is sorely unprepared to handle this invasion.

He says that the drug murders here are not like what is happening in Mexico. Here you have low-level drug dealers killing each other. In Mexico you have murder on such a large scale, and it encompasses everyone. Rich and poor, police and criminals, cartel leaders and low-level mules. Whereas in Albuquerque Sinaloa keeps a low profile. Very rarely do sicarios (cartel assassins) come to town to knock off someone who has crossed (most probably stolen from) the cartel. But it has happened.

He told me of a man in the east mountains kidnapped by cartel sicarios and murdered on the southwest mesa of Albuquerque. He said that last year Bernalillo County deputies stopped a car and arrested the occupants. He believed the occupants were clearly Sinaloa members. They had assault rifles, drugs and lots of money. Marentes said that the local media barely reported it when the feds took over the case.

The Albuquerque Journal just produced an excellent investigative report on SNM (Syndicate Nuevo Mexico), our prison gang. SNM assassinated one of their own who turned police informant in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Marentes said that that instead of bringing cartel sicarios into the United States, they have just outsourced keeping their drug dealers in line by hiring SNM. I suppose it’s just business.

Which leads me to my theory of why Sinaloa decided upon Albuquerque.

Albuquerque is close to the border, but far enough away that you don’t have the large law enforcement presence that El Paso has. Albuquerque has two major interstate highways, an international airport, a big railroad hub and a trucking hub. And ten years ago, when Sinaloa took over Juarez, Albuquerque had a police department that was in shambles. It was the perfect storm of an opportunity for a drug cartel to move in and set up operations.

During the last ten years APD removed their detectives from federal task forces, thereby limiting intelligence. APD lost hundreds of police officers, therefore reducing the chances that cartel members would get stopped. Albuquerque economically had nothing to offer. Think about it, if you are a young man or woman in Albuquerque and the only economic engine that is making money is dealing drugs, you are going to become a drug dealer. It’s that simple.

So how does Albuquerque turn this around? Can Albuquerque turn this around?

Part of this will be handled by Sinaloa itself. Marentes said they own Albuquerque, so they are not fighting with other cartels here. He also said that they will not put up with local drug dealers whose illegal activities start drawing too much attention. That is where the local media must do more reporting. The Journal’s report on SNM was just the beginning. We need KOB, KRQE and KOAT to join in and report, investigate and expose. Every newscast should expose what is happening in Albuquerque. Shine light on Sinaloa.

Instead of politicians like Davis lying about our crime problem and attacking our BCSO, we need them to join ranks and commit to working together. We need our Senators Udall and Heinrich to push hard for more federal judges to handle criminal cases. We need our entire congressional delegation to ask the Department of Justice to put more federal agents (FBI, DEA, ATF etc) into Albuquerque.

Make no mistake, this is not a continuation of the failed war on drugs, this is different. Law enforcement in Albuquerque must focus on Sinaloa itself as a criminal enterprise. We don’t need low level drug raids, we need to go after the top dogs who are here, living quietly amongst us (read Borderland Beat to find out more about this).

Now entrenched I doubt, we will ever get rid of Sinaloa. The thirst for drugs in this nation is too strong. Most drugs coming into Albuquerque are heading out of town to Chicago, Denver, Kansas City etc. We are just a distribution point for an illegal business. A business that brings in billions.

The ugly truth is, Albuquerque has brought this upon itself. This is what happens in the real world when an entire community fails to elect and hold accountable their leaders. When a community decides it is better to stick their heads in the sand and pretend everything is OK. Haven’t we had enough of this?



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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.