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Los Alamos Police capture fugitive Leslie Draper

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By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos Police Sgt. Jason Herrera led the search that resulted in the 1:30 a.m. capture of Leslie Kathryn Draper behind a Taco Bell in Albuquerque Tuesday.

Draper, 23, has been on the lam for several weeks in connection with a suspected meth lab operation discovered on Villa Street.

She had been staying at the home since October while allegedly attending an Alabama court-ordered drug rehabilitation program in the local area, although her attendance in such a program hasn’t been confirmed.

“LAPD’s investigations division has been tracking Draper’s whereabouts through various communication methods,” Herrera said. “In working with the division and Det. Doug Johnson, I traveled to Albuquerque Monday evening and met with Sgt. Wayne Shelton from the Region 3 Narcotics Task Force as well as state police.”

Herrera, an undercover officer and two state police officers apprehended Draper and another woman behind the Taco Bell near Juan Tabo and Lomas, Herrera said, adding that coincidentally the other woman had a drug-related warrant out in her name as well.

Magistrate Judge Pat Casados set Draper’s bond at $100,000 in late February. She will be extradited from Albuquerque to Los Alamos to face meth lab charges here, he said, before being extradited to Alabama to face charges there.

“The cooperative efforts between our investigations and patrol divisions is what led to the arrest of this woman,” Herrera said.

Police Chief Wayne Torpy spoke about the case during an interview late Tuesday. “Regarding the meth case itself – the importance of what our community needs to recognize is two things,” Torpy said. “Number one – what actually constitutes a meth lab and why it’s so bad. The drug can be manufactured in what is statutorily a laboratory that is no bigger than a shoe box. Number two is the danger of the residue a meth lab generates.”

Torpy commended the investigation team, all the entities that contributed and particularly Herrera for capturing Draper.

“She has a pattern of getting into trouble with the law and then absconding to other areas and never getting tried for her crimes,” he said. “These detectives and officers did great work and the message here is that just because you leave Los Alamos after you commit a crime doesn’t mean we won’t get you and bring you back to face justice.”

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her blog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.