LOS LUNAS — Los Lunas Police Department is exploring options to address a problematic property located on South Los Lentes Road in Los Lunas following an increase in crime in the area.

Most recently, LLPD responded to reports of gunfire at the property, 702 Los Lentes Road, SE, on the evening of Monday, Nov. 13.

LLPD Special Investigations Lt. Nikki DeAnda said shots appeared to be fired into the air adjacent to the property as multiple bullet casings were found in the area just south of the home.

“There were six occupants inside of the home, none of which sustained any type of injuries,” said DeAnda. “Initially, we suspected that it was a drive-by shooting; however, there was no evidence of the structure being damaged or receiving any type of bullet holes to the home itself.”

DeAnda learned through video surveillance that two vehicles fled the location where the gunshots were fired. The two vehicles, described as a white BMW and a black SUV, were initially parked on a ditchbank that runs along the backside of the property.

“The license plates were not visible from the video surveillance. At this time, we do not have the vehicle drivers identified,” said DeAnda. “I do feel safe in saying the community is not at risk. I think this is a very isolated incident and very specific to that actual residence.”

DeAnda said the homeowner was not present at the time of the incident as he is often wandering the streets or in the bosque. Though, getting the six people who were occupying the house to come out was a challenge.

LLPD is exploring options to address ‘nuisance’ property, pictured, located at 702 Los Lentes Rd, SE. Photo courtesy of LLPD.

“It took multiple public announcement call outs,” she said. “But we made it clear we were going to stay for as long as needed, so eventually the occupants did exit the home.”

DeAnda said the six individuals inside the home were uncooperative to a certain extent.

“They came out of the home, they spoke to us, but everyone denied having any knowledge that there was an altercation,” she said. “None of them had any type of warrants, so we cleared the residence.”

DeAnda said the incident did not meet the threshold of a SWAT call out, but they did have SWAT members who were on duty at the time participate and conduct a search of the residence due to the exigent circumstances.

“The home itself is beyond a nuisance to the community and to law enforcement,” said DeAnda. “All the occupants that reside there, or are hanging out there, participate in illegal activity, including illegal drug usage.”

LLPD also recovered multiple stolen vehicles at the property during this incident and several have been recovered there prior to that.

DeAnda said LLPD has been closely monitoring the home for about a year due to the property being problematic for residents of the area, and that criminal activity has increased within the last few months.

“The homeowner’s power of attorney passed away about three to four months ago. Prior to that, his POA would manage, to a certain extent, the individuals allowed in,” said DeAnda. “She had constant communication with our department and was willing to help. So now with that POA passing away, it’s become a freebie for anyone to come in.”

LLPD Chief Frank Lucero said most of the people who frequent this residence are habitual criminal offenders and have been arrested, some numerous times, by LLPD officers.

“We are working with our zoning staff and city attorney to explore enforcement actions on this property and will continue extra patrols to assist our residents in the area with this nuisance property,” said Lucero.

DeAnda said it’s her hope they can try to condemn the residence. In the meantime, she encourages the community to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity.

“If they observe anything out of the ordinary, we highly recommend that they contact our dispatch to have our officers look into any concerns that they may have,” she said. “We also have our STOPIt application where community members can anonymously submit tips.”

The STOPIt app can be downloaded from the Google Play or Apple App store. Once downloaded, enter the access code: loslunaspd.

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Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.