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Authorities accuse teen of peddling drugs, guns on Snapchat

By MARY HUDETZJune 5, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico teenager faced drug and gun charges on Wednesday amid accusations that he had used a popular social media platform to peddle fentanyl, assault weapons and other firearms.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez announced the 17-year-old’s arrest at a news conference, where authorities played a loop of Snapchat videos and photos they said originated from the boy’s phone. The images showed plastic bags filled with small blue pills, pistols and rifles propped across a person’s lap.

In one clip, someone shoots a firearm down on an empty dirt road at night. In another, there is text paired with a photo of a gun saying “650 today.”

An FBI search warrant showed the teen was arrested at a house in southwest Albuquerque early Tuesday morning — about a month after the FBI was tipped that the boy was posting multiple assault weapons and large amounts of fentanyl for sale. An elderly man also was arrested at the home and charged with resisting officers.

FBI and state police agents’ list of items seized included 60 tablets they suspected to be the powerful opioid fentanyl and a loaded AR-15 pistol with a 30-round magazine.

“Make no mistake about it,” Torrez said. “This young man had in his possession a weapon of war.”

The teen is expected to make an appearance Thursday in Children’s Court on drug-related charges and unlawful possession of a firearm. The Associated Press is not naming the teen because of his age.

Authorities highlighted the boy’s arrest as the result of a multi-agency task force established to tackle Albuquerque crime.

In a search warrant affidavit, an agent on the task force said it had begun dedicating more resources toward investigating prolific violent offenders who are juveniles after finding they were responsible for an increasing number of crimes.

As part of the investigation, an informant arranged to buy fentanyl advertised at $15 per pill in late May, authorities said.

It was not clear whether an attorney had been assigned to the case who could comment on the boy’s behalf.

Roger Valenzuela — the 76-year-old man who also was arrested after a SWAT team and agents descended on the Albuquerque home to take the boy into custody — did not have an attorney assigned to his case online. Records show he was released from jail on Tuesday.

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