Friday, November 8, 2019

The Routine Traffic Stop in Bernalillo County, New Mexico

From the Borderland Beat book - Chapter: "The Hometown Influence.

Take for instance an incident that happened in Albuquerque, my home of residence. In 2018 Bernalillo county deputies (BCSO) initiated a routine traffic stop of a vehicle that matched the description of one involved in a domestic disturbance call. The vehicle was pulled over after it swerved out of its lane of travel. There were three occupants inside the vehicle.  Two of them were Mexican nationals and the other man, the driver, was native of Albuquerque, NM. What happened next was something that should give law enforcement reason to be concerned.

The deputy noticed that one of the men appeared to be wearing body armor, saw what appeared to be large amounts currency in the center console and upon further examination, noticed a large number of weapons in the back floorboard.

The deputies would eventually find eight rifles, six handguns, night vision goggles, multiple sets of body armor, ballistic helmets, more than $33,000 in cash, and a small amount of cocaine in the vehicle.

Looking at the equipment, these men were ready to engage other armed targets, while travelling within the US. These types of traffic stops are common and routinely seen in Mexico.
These men were better equipped than the patrol deputies that stopped them at the scene and could have caused some heavy damage if they had chosen to engage the deputies. For the most part US patrol officers only carry side arms on them when conducting routine traffic stops and the long rifles found in the vehicle of the suspects could easily penetrate the soft ballistic armor worn by patrol officers in the course of their duty.

 Two of the rifles, including one fully automatic “machine gun” were confirmed to be stolen. The driver, Jesus Samaniego-Villa, and his two passengers were charged with possession of stolen firearms in state court, but the case was quickly handed over to federal prosecutors to avoid being botched up by the seemingly incompetent New Mexico state court system.

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