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Ex-gang members helping dismantle New Mexico prison gang

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Nearly 114 suspected members and associates of an infamous New Mexico prison gang have been arrested over the past two years with the help of over 30 former members and leaders, who have been secretly working with authorities, according to an FBI document.
The group cooperating in the massive federal racketeering investigation into the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico gang includes more than 20 members inside the gang who are considered “confidential human sources,” FBI Special Agent Bryan Acee wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit filed Aug. 31.
The gang has been around since the 1980 deadly riot at the state Penitentiary in Santa Fe and has about 500 members, the Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2wSMYg7 ).
The FBI began the investigation in 2015 after it received word that gang leaders were plotting to kill then-state Correction Secretary Gregg Marcantel and another top corrections officials. The investigation later revealed that incarcerated gang leaders “directed members on the street to acquire firearms and kill the NMCD officials.”
Authorities were able to foil the assassination plot. The prison gang members and associates involved were indicted by a federal grand jury.
Eighty of those arrested have been charged with federal crimes, a majority of which have pleaded guilty, according the affidavit. Fewer than 15 defendants are awaiting trial, court records show.
One defense lawyer claims some of the statements and cooperation law enforcement received came after agent threatened some people to include them in the racketeering prosecution if they didn’t comply.
“There is a great risk that these coercive police tactics will produce involuntary statements,” stated a motion filed in February by attorney Amy Sirignano, who represents defendant Christopher Garcia.
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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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