May 25, 2023

Gov reestablishes organized crime commission

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks during a press conference announcing the re-establishment of the Organized Crime Commission.

Nicole Maxwell/New Mexico Political Report

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks during a press conference announcing the re-establishment of the Organized Crime Commission.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Wednesday that she reestablished a multi-agency Organized Crime Commission.

The governor said during a press conference that the reestablished commission is “indicative of the kind of leadership that is occurring in the state of New Mexico that is laser-focused on public safety” and holding “individuals conducting criminal activity accountable at every level in every single place in the state and doing it in such a fashion that lends itself to our federal partners and other states so that we’re collaborating across state lines on activity that we know is impacting individuals public safety right here in our state.” 

Lujan Grisham said she brought back the commission to combat human trafficking, drug trafficking and illegal gun access.

“The individuals who participate here today are going to be looking at ways to enhance our success and holding those individuals accountable,” Lujan Grisham said. “The individuals on the street that they recruit drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal gun access and distribution… which all lends itself into some of the worst public health outcomes the country has ever seen.”

Lujan Grisham did not know how long since the commission was last active; however’ the last formal report from the commission came in 1978. Gov. Bill Richardson, who held office from 2003-2011, reestablished the commission but the Lujan Grisham administration could not find documents from that era.

Lujan Grisham said that the commission could have existed in a more informal manner at the time.

“It is actually a fairly old commission but rarely used in the state of New Mexico,” Lujan Grisham said. “Not clear about why that is on, I may take a guess, which is that we all collaborate and do joint investigations on your protocols that are fairly well-established. “But each tool in the toolbox that signals that we are serious. We will hold you accountable. We will identify patterns and issues we will do in our own state and across state lines that we will fully engage with our federal partners is a benefit to the folks who are working day and night to keep New Mexicans safe.”

Lujan Grisham appointed Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman to chair the commission.

Bregman introduced the rest of the commission during the press conference.

The rest of the members are Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen, Department of Public Safety Secretary Jason Bowie, U.S. Marshal Sonya K. Chavez,  Western New Mexico University Police Chief Eddie Flores, Eighth Judicial District Attorney Marcus Montoya and former New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura.

The commission’s seven members are appointed by the governor and would be approved by the state senate.