Law enforcement hunts down accused drug traffickers in Portales - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Law enforcement hunts down accused drug traffickers in Portales

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A large group wanted for drug trafficking in the Portales area was rounded up Thursday as part of a multiple law enforcement agencies operation.

"Operation Ice Out" was the code name for the extensive operation that came to a head Thursday. All aimed at bringing criminals to justice, and safety to the community.

Whether they came in with attitude or hung their heads in shame, a range of individuals ages 22 to 42, both men and women, were some of the 17 accused drug traffickers being hunted down as part of the operation.

"It's a big operation," said Portales Chief of Police Doug Jones. "We're not a large community, it's a big operation for this size community."

"I think all communities need to take back their communities," said Portales Mayor, Sharon King.

Regaining control of their communities from these suspects accused of dealing meth and heroin.

"It results in burglaries or robberies and violent crimes are up so if we can really try to take out a lot of these drug traffickers at once, we've seen, in history, results pay off because our crimes are reduced," explained Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler, who issued the arrest warrants for all 17 suspects.

Thursday's round up was the product of a four-month long investigation and the combined work of five different law enforcement agencies including the Portales Police Department, Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office, Region V Drug Task Force, the ENMU Police Department and the Portales office of the State of New Mexico Adult Probation and Parole.

"It's important to show that law enforcement agencies have a good cooperative effort and are willing to assist each other," said Chief Jones. "So it's very important."

One of the 17 was already incarcerated on unrelated charges, but the other 16 were rounded up one by one and walked into the Roosevelt County Detention Center.

"If found guilty, each person faces approximately nine years in the Department of Corrections," said Chandler.

Keeping criminals off the streets and the streets of Portales clean.

"Let's send out this message," said Mayor King. "We're not going to tolerate this behavior anymore."

Chandler also said the last time their area saw a large roundup like this was eight years ago, when they hunted down about 80 suspects.