Investigative and enterprise stories from independent journalist Ryan Lowery.
Police received reports of hidden body months before recovery
The body of a missing woman was found under the floorboards of a New Mexico home in May, but that wasn’t the first time police visited the property. It wasn’t even the first time police responded to reports of a body on the property.
Law enforcement program emphasizes recovery, not jail
Many people in America are jailed for crimes driven by addiction, but Alamosa, Colorado, is taking a different approach by focusing on treatment, not jail.
An Ongoing Battle
Corrections staff work to prevent drug trade in county jail
Corrections staff struggle to keep drugs out of the county jail as inmates find new and inventive ways to get drugs, like opioids, into the facility.
Federal agents aid in struggle to disrupt drug trafficking
Federal law enforcement officers swarmed the small town of Las Vegas, New Mexico, in September 2019, executing multiple search warrants and making several arrests in an attempt to stop the flow of heroin and cocaine into the city once dubbed “Smack City, USA.”
Scope of drug addiction ‘hard to quantify’
About 8 percent of San Miguel County’s jail population is incarcerated for a drug-related offence, and county leaders are attempting to address the problem with programs like ‘drug court.’ But experts warn there’s a physical component to addiction that must be addressed as well.
One Way Out
Homicide tied to violent New Mexico prison gang
A car horn disrupted the quiet July evening. Then came the gunshots. Three bullets that killed Leroy “Smurf” Lucero, leaving his wife without a husband, and his four children without their father. His violent death also shifted the focus of a nearly five-year-long FBI investigation to a small New Mexico town.
Piecing it Together
Picture of June homicide takes shape as DA continues investigation
Early one June morning, 24-year-old Jordan Sisneros watched 27-year-old Cruz Gallegos die. After he was shot, the gun was turned on gun on her. To date, only one of the several people in that Las Vegas home on June 15, 2019, have been charged
Man ID’d in 2018 deadly shooting remains free
Jeromy “Joker” Vasquez was shot and killed in Las Vegas, New Mexico, in January of 2018. Multiple law enforcement agencies say a convicted felon named Albert Herrera is the man who shot Vasquez, and Las Vegas Police know that Herrera tossed the gun out a window of a vehicle. The FBI says Herrera is a felon who was on probation, in part for a firearms violation, and yet, there is no record Herrera was detained, arrested or questioned further.