County Sheriff's Office

Surveillance and controlled buys over four weeks in July have resulted in the apprehension and arrest of a woman whom the Socorro Sheriff’s Department believes is a known drug trafficker operating in Socorro County. Amy Mendoza, 27, was arrested August 9 on two charges of possession of heroin, a fourth degree felony. She was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a petty misdemeanor.

The arrest came as a consequence of the ongoing Operation New Day, which was put in motion in 2018 by the Sheriff’s Department. According to Sheriff’s Detective Richard Lopez, the operation targets street level narcotics dealers in the Socorro area.

“We continue to gather information from confidential sources, concerned citizens and members of the public, along with investigation techniques to identify and target known traffickers in the County of Socorro,” Lopez said.

Following testimony at Mendoza’s preliminary hearing in Magistrate Court on August 6, Judge Clayton Atwood ordered her case bound over to Seventh District Court for prosecution.

The criminal complaint stated that Sheriff’s deputies identified a target home on Calle Bonita.

“We learned from multiple sources that the home was a known location where drug trafficking occurred,” Lopez states. “Through the investigation I learned that the home was occupied by one Amy Mendoza.”

Lopez states that surveillance on the residence was prompted due to “a lot of traffic coming and going from the residence.”

The complaint said neighbors in the area were complaining anonymously to law enforcement about the home and the steady foot and vehicle traffic associated with the residence, and that occasionally “they will hear honking horns from cars parked at the residence.”

Lopez stated in the complaint he was informed in late July by a confidential source that Mendoza had “re-upped” (a common street term for obtaining narcotics). The source told Lopez that many of her customers and those who would re-sell drugs they purchased from her would be going to the residence throughout that afternoon to obtain heroin.

Following a series on controlled narcotics buys enough evidence on Mendoza was obtained to secure an arrest warrant.

On August 8 at approximately 5:20 p.m. Detective Lopez and backup deputies gathered to serve a narcotics search warrant at 517 Calle Bonita. An arrest warrant for Mendoza was also obtained.

“As we arrived at residence we announced our presence and breached the front door,” Lopez said. “Entry was made into the home but no one was located inside.”

Lopez then learned that Mendoza had left the residence seconds before the deputies arrived in a white Cadillac driven by a male subject.

Officers conducted a thorough search of the residence and seized a loaded syringe with suspected heroin in a brown purse and another loaded syringe in a black box, both of which later tested positive for heroin. Also seized in the search were crushed pills and drug paraphernalia.

In the meantime, the vehicle Mendoza was riding in was located and pulled over. The officer took her back to the residence, where Lopez served her with a copy of both warrants, and she was arrested.

According to the complaint, Mendoza was also in possession of a pipe and methamphetamine at the time of her arrest.

Mendoza’s first appearance in District Court on the charges has not been scheduled as of press time.

Lopez said members of the community can play an important part in the control of drug activity in Socorro.

“What we’re trying to do is stop this street level narcotics activity, people selling out of neighborhoods,” he reiterated. “Residents in that neighborhood were complaining about traffic out there…people driving around neighborhood looking for drugs to buy. We really encourage anybody that’s having these issues in their neighborhood to contact the Sheriff’s Department and let us know. You will remain anonymous.”

He said anonymous calls can be the first step toward controlling illicit narcotics activity in an area.