During the 1980 prison riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe County, 12 correctional officers were taken hostage, assaulted and raped. Also, 33 inmates were killed and 200 were injured. After this bloodbath, the prison gang Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico, or the New Mexico Syndicate was born. According to the Las Cruces Sun-News:
Since its formation, the gang has expanded throughout New Mexico’s penal system and has had up to 500 members. Members are believed to communicate orders within and outside of prisons through various means, including secret notes called “kites” or “welas” and coded letters. Members are expected to remain to loyal to the gang even after they complete prison sentences to “further” the gang’s goal “outside of the prison environment.”
On Friday, 25 members of Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico were federally indicted on racketeering charges, including leaders Mario “Blue” Rodriguez, 30, Jerry Montoya, 35, and Jerry Armenta, 35, who are housed at the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility. The first indictment charges 24 members and associates with four murders, conspiring to commit three murders and conspiring to commit violent assault. The murders are said to have been committed in Doña Ana County, but it is not specified if they happened inside or outside of prison. The second indictment charges four members and associates, including three listed in the first indictment, with conspiracy to commit two murders and two violent assaults.
The Sun-News reports:
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 23 defendants, including 13 who were in state custody and one who was in Tennessee, were arrested on Thursday. Two defendants — Angel DeLeon, 38, and Arturo Arnulfo Garcia, 48 — have yet to be arrested and are considered fugitives.