Seventh arrest nets second speed lab

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Crime: Additional suspects are on local law enforcement radar

By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos detectives have been on a crime-fighting roll since Friday, arresting seven suspects and shutting down two methamphetamine laboratories.

Their latest arrest occurred Tuesday afternoon when they apprehended Elias Lovato, 40, of Los Alamos at a residence near Diamond Drive in which officials uncovered and dismantled a second meth lab.

“During the booking process, officers discovered Lovato had attempted to conceal methamphetamine,” Sgt. Oliver Morris said.

Charges filed against Lovato include trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, conspiracy and two counts of bringing contraband into a jail.

Last Friday, Morris and his detectives called in New Mexico State Police and a special hazmat team to assist in dismantling a meth lab they discovered near the entrance to town, which included chemicals and paraphernalia in the bed of a pickup truck.

Los Alamos Acting Fire Marshal Brian Nickerson describes the chemicals used to manufacture meth as “highly volatile.”

“We also have our equipment and firefighters on scene during the dismantling of meth labs because there’s an inhalation risk working around these chemicals – it’s really a hazmat type incident.”
Morris explained that there are several more suspects under investigation who are known to be involved in this case, Morris said.

“We are going to do whatever it takes to ensure meth is not manufactured in Los Alamos,” he said. “I was a school resource officer and I know many of the children in this community as do my detectives and we all have families here as well. This is personal for us – we want this to be a drug free community for everyone’s sake.”
Arrested on Friday:
• Gary Shaw, 40, of Los Alamos – charged with burglary of a motor vehicle, larceny, trafficking methamphetamine by manufacture, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and he also had an outstanding Los Alamos County warrant.
• Brandon Brotherton, 31, of Belen – charged in conjunction with an outstanding ATF warrant on weapons charges and a Sandoval County warrant related to forgery and concealing his identity.
• Stacy Sanchez, 47, of Los Alamos – charged with receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, trafficking methamphetamine by manufacture and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.
• Anna Sandoval, 27, of Albuquerque – charged with receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle.
• Gary Bobo, 40, of Los Alamos – charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Nicole Trujillo, 27, of Los Alamos is charged with possession of burglary tools, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, trafficking methamphetamine by manufacture and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

Police Chief Wayne Torpy explained that because burglaries seem to coincide with methamphetamine production, the community will notice a drop in that type of activity as a result of these arrests.

“This has been a complicated case that has involved a lot of excellent police work by our detectives,” Torpy said. “It’s very satisfying to be able to close out a number of our property crime cases as a results of these arrests.”

Several residents have called the police to report their property stolen since the first six arrests appeared in the Los Alamos Monitor, Morris said, adding that he is in the process of returning those calls.

“We will see to it that all of the property we confiscated during these arrests is returned to the rightful owners,” he said. “We urge anyone with information related to this case to call us at 662-8222.”