Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Mexican Drug Cartel Spill Over to Duke City

Saturday, August 15, 2009 |

Violence from the Mexican drug cartel is moving north into New Mexico and it's only expected to get worse.

 Deputies made an arrest in a brutal Albuquerque murder, but now have their sights set on other suspects who are linked to a dangerous Mexican drug cartel. One of the cartels with ties to Ciudad Juarez was “sending a message” with the death of Danny Baca, 53, who was found shot 22 times with an assault rifle, burned and left in the middle of a far West Pajarito Mesa roadway in January 2008.

Baca was supposed to bring a load of drugs across the border for a smuggling cartel, meet a connection in El Paso and go from there, according to authorities.

Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White said Baca “signed his own death warrant” when he and another man decided to bypass El Paso and bring the drugs to Albuquerque.

“They wanted to make sure everybody knew you don’t mess with the cartel,” White said Friday. “This was a very clear message they were sending.”

Deputies are now looking for Jaime Veleta and his cousin, Mario Talavera. They believe the two have connections with the drug cartel that hired Baca.

Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department says Baca was killed over a relatively small amount of money--but the drug cartels aren't know for cutting people breaks.

"The estimates we have right now is that it was about $7,000 worth of drugs, which in the grand scheme of cartel and drug money, talking multi-million, multi-billion dollar industries doesn't seem like a lot. But they're losing money everywhere," Sgt. Mark Kmatz said.

Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputies arrested Gerardo Nuñez whom investigators said has ties to a Mexican drug cartel. Gerardo Nunez, who deputies believe was Veleta's contact in Albuquerque and hooked Baca up with the cartel. Nuñez and two other men are suspected of involvement in the killing of Danny Baca, an errant drug courier who angered the cartel by running off with a load of marijuana.

Investigators alleged Nuñez hired Danny Baca and Joseph Laycock to transport the pot from Mexico to Texas. But instead of making the drop, the pair kept the dope and car and ran to Albuquerque.

Deputies tried to arrest Talavera in Albuquerque Thursday night, but he got away. Investigators are still trying to figure out who killed Baca.

"People don't consider Albuquerque a border town, but we've seen boarder violence come up into Albuquerque," U. S. Marshal Gorden Eden. New Mexico is enchanting to drug cartels because there are fewer officers per capita allowing for more border violence, he continued. The intersection of Interstates 25 and 40 also aid in transporting contraband, Eden added
 
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