In early 2021, after numerous murders in Valencia County, including the senseless and tragic murder of 11-year-old Joseph Hobbs in Monterey Park, New Mexico State Police officers in Valencia County organized a large-scale crime suppression operation dubbed Operation Joseph.

Joseph Ray Hobbs

The goal of Operation Joseph, named in honor of Hobbs, was the reduction of violent crime related to illegal drug crimes, in the Monterey Park, El Cerro Mission and Meadow Lake areas of Valencia County. The 10-week operation started in early March and ran through May.

Working in conjunction with deputies from the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office, special agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), as well as the Valencia County District Attorney’s Office, Operation Joseph led to a total of 57 arrests, including four drug trafficking cases, one of which has been adopted by the ATF and is being federally prosecuted.

The breakdown of the results of Operation Joseph include:

Misdemeanor warrant arrests: 20

Felony warrant arrests: 17

Drug trafficking cases: 4

Other misdemeanor arrests including four DWIs: 11

Other felony arrests: 5

Recovered stolen vehicles: 2

Traffic citations issued: 116

Citizen contacts: 1,069

“Our commitment to you is to aggressively fight violent crime and improve quality of life for citizens of New Mexico,” said Robert Thornton, chief of the New Mexico State Police. “My officers work day and night doing their best to prevent tragic losses, like the death of Joseph Hobbs, from devastating another family.”

“We at the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office want to thank the New Mexico State Police for allowing us to participate in Operation Joseph,” said Valencia County Sheriff Denise Vigil. “The team effort was a great success and shows the unity in our law enforcement partners from local, state and federal. Anytime we can contribute in a joint effort to protect our communities we can all consider it a success.”

“We are very pleased with the success of this operation and look forward to the continued collaboration between the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s office and our law enforcement partners,” said District Attorney Barbara Romo. “I am very grateful for the men and women that participated in this operation and for their continued dedication to our community’s safety”

NMSP and the VCSO also seized 53.43 grams of methamphetamine, 64 Fentanyl pills, nine grams of heroin, 40 grams of cocaine and 1.45 pounds of marijuana. The public can expect to see more operations like this in Valencia County in the future.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.