Numerous local law enforcement agencies team up to take down a group of Mexican Cartel Drug Dealers


June 7, 2023, 1:21 pm

By: ABQRAW staff

Posted: 6/7/2023 @ 7:17AM

photos courtesy of APD

Albuquerque, NM APD’s Central Narcotics Unit executed a large-scale take-down of a major drug operation in Albuquerque yesterday with potential ties to a Mexican drug cartel. Detectives arrested four people, including interstate drug-runners, seized 15 firearms, 45,000 Fentanyl pills, 1 pound of meth, $45,000 in cash, and 3,000 rounds of ammunition.

“Today’s bust is the result of many hours of investigation and partnerships between APD’s narcotics detectives and our partners from the DEA, DEA Task Force members, our Electronic Support Unit, and the Gun Violence Reduction Unit,” APD Chief Harold Medina said. “We also had support from Sandoval County’s K-9 Unit. This was an amazing team effort that helps us keep the pressure on the criminals who are driving drug trafficking and gun violence in the Metro area.”

The Central Narcotics Unit conducted an investigation into a large scale Drug Trafficking Organization operating throughout Albuquerque. Narcotics detectives had conducted several undercover transactions with Gary Merino-Ramirez, who is known as “Demon.”

During these transactions, over 2,000 Fentanyl pills were purchased along with meth and heroin. “Demon” has an extensive criminal history which includes 5 counts of robbery with a deadly weapon in California, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon where he suffered 3 gunshot wounds.

photos courtesy of APD

Merino-Martinez introduced undercover detectives to his primary supplier, Reynaldo Vargas, also known as “Gumby,” who he described as a main person who runs the Albuquerque drug trade. Vargas agreed to meet undercover detectives at Merino-Martinez’s residence to sell them meth and heroin.

Vargas has an extensive criminal history which was highlighted in a recent news story for having over 42 Felony arrests and is affiliated with the violent prison gang “Los Carnales” which he has tattooed on his face. Vargas, who also goes by Raymond, has previously been convicted of 1st degree murder which was plead down to 2nd degree murder. Several undercover transactions took place with Vargas where 4,000 Fentanyl pills were purchased along with 189 grams of Meth and a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun. Vargas admitted that he is a felon and should not possess any firearm, yet he and Merino-Martinez were armed during every undercover transaction.

photos courtesy of APD

Based on Central Narcotics Detectives undercover transactions, arrest and search warrants were obtained for Merino-Martinez and Vargas. On this date, Central Narcotics Detectives along with DEA, DEA TFO’s, Electronic Support Unit (ESU), GVRU, and Sandoval County K9 conducted the arrest of Merino-Martinez and Vargas while subsequently serving warrants at both of their residences.

Yesterdays large scale op resulted in the following evidence seizures:

Ø 15 Firearms

Ø 2 stolen guns recovered

Ø 1 Silencer for .45 cal pistol

Ø Kevlar plates

Ø 3,000 rounds of ammo

Ø Approximately 45,000 Fentanyl pills

Ø Approximately $45,000.00 cash seizure

Ø 1 LB of Methamphetamine

Ø 8 GM of Crack Cocaine

Ø 2 Vehicles seized

Ø 5 Felony arrests

photos courtesy of APD

After the initial arrests, it was learned that Ashley Monique Lucas and her boyfriend who is a Mexican National (Oscar Enrique Maytorena-Barrera) who has potential Sinaloa Cartel affiliations were identified as drug runners from Arizona to Albuquerque. Central Narcotics Detectives, DEA, and DEA TFO’s were able to pinpoint the location of Lucas and Maytorena-Barrera at San Mateo Blvd. and Claremont Ave., N.E. near Wal-Mart. A take-down plan was formulated which resulted in the arrests. Maytorena-Barrera was in possession of a loaded Glock 9mm which was reported stolen, and several thousand Fentantyl pills.

Ø Raymond Vargas “Gumby” was charged with Federal Drug Trafficking and Federal Weapons charges.

Ø Gary Merino-Ramirez “Demon” was charged with Federal Drug Trafficking and Federal Weapons charges.

Ø Ashley Monique Lucas was charged with Federal Drug Trafficking and Weapons charges.

Ø Oscar Enrique Maytorena-Barrera was charged with Federal Drug Trafficking and Weapons charges.

photos courtesy of APD

The guns recovered are as follows:

Ø Glock 9mm (stolen)

Ø Glock 10mm

Ø Taurus 9mm

Ø G43 9mm

Ø AR-Pistol 9mm

Ø AR- Pistol .223

Ø Keltec 12 gauge shotgun

Ø AR-15 .223 Rifle with optics

Ø AR-15 .223 Rifle

Ø AR-22

Ø AK Rifle .762

Ø 12 gauge Remington shotgun

Ø Uzi 9mm

Ø Sig Sauer Pistol 9mm (Stolen)

Ø Glock 42 (stolen)

photos courtesy of APD


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