SANTA FE – New Mexico's governor announced a new effort to confront organized crime Wednesday by convening a specialized commission of local prosecutors and leading law enforcement officials.
Organized crime in New Mexico has recently spurred the adoption of criminal penalties for coordinated retail theft, federal raids on stash houses to rescue migrants and efforts to disrupt fentanyl rings.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is reviving the state's Organized Crime Commission under provisions of a 1970s-era statute. A commission hasn't been convened since the administration of former Gov. Bill Richardson, who served from 2003 until 2011.
Albuquerque-based District Attorney Sam Bregman will lead the eight-member group that will provide an annual report to the state Legislature and governor.
“New Mexico, like the rest of the country, has a crime problem, whether it’s guns, drugs or human trafficking,” Bregman said. “Much of it gets its origin, means and methods from criminal organizations. ... The purpose of this commission is to forestall, check and prevent the infiltration and encroachment of organized crime.”
Commission members include Republican former state Supreme Court Justice Judith Nakamura, U.S. Marshal Sonya Chavez, state Public Safety Secretary Jason Bowie and Democratic Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen.
At a news conference, Lujan Grisham said the commission's work should help inform future legislative proposals, though some activities involving criminal investigations won't be disclosed to the public.