Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

FBI addresses Albuquerque’s crime problem

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s violent crime has the attention of one of the nation’s top cops. The FBI director spent Wednesday talking with New Mexico’s law enforcement leaders about the problem and how they can tackle it.

Director Christopher Wray called Albuquerque’s uptick in murders last year a “truly horrifying,” and the more than 30 bank robberies so far in 2022 a “serious problem.” But he says the FBI’s Violent Crime and Gang Task Force, made up of 40 officers from the FBI, state, and local police agencies, is trying to address it.

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“No matter what agency or department the task force officer comes from, they all, each of them have the ability to enforce federal statutes,” Director Wray says. “And present investigations to the US Attorney’s Office to aggressively pursue federal charges against those offenders who are committing violent offenses, really whenever and wherever we can.”

Director Wray says federal charges are the answer because that means federal time—which keeps people locked up longer. Billboards have shown up in the community reminding people the police will pursue federal charges when they can. The campaign launched earlier this year.

The hope of catching the criminals driving the violent crime. He says the focus is the homicide rate, which he wants to bring down.

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To do so, he said more resources are a possibility. “We expect to continue focusing on how the FBI as a whole can support the work that’s being done here whether that’s through more intelligence support, whether that’s through potentially sending dedicated teams to assist in some ways from other parts of the country if necessary,” says Wray.

Heads of law enforcement agencies from across the state attended Wednesday’s press conference. They stayed afterwards to talk one-on-one with the director about their specific needs.

The director says in the last three years, the Violent Crime and Gang Task Force has made nearly 500 federal arrests in the Albuquerque area, taking about 350 guns off the street.

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