Updated: August 29, 2020 10:07 PM
Created: August 29, 2020 06:28 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the first time, KOB 4 got to see what Operation Legend looks like at the local level. President Trump had announced in late July that 35 federal agents would be sent to Albuquerque to combat rising crime.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales was at the White House for the announcement. He says the county needs the help.
"We are frustrated to some degree on what's going on with the criminal justice system here in New Mexico," Gonzales said. "So we have to take another approach – this is the right approach."
On Saturday, BCSO worked with the federal agents to patrol southeast Albuquerque.
"You'll see they're in uniform, they'll come out with us, in some cases they'll partner up with us and in other cases they'll be in their own vehicles," Gonzales said. "We use a team policing strategy in order to keep each other safe so we're looking again at the most violent people."
KOB 4 is still waiting for numbers from BCSO on how successful the patrol was, but the KOB 4 crew saw at least five people get arrested in a matter of hours.
Meanwhile, the U.S. District Attorney's office said at least 19 people have been federally charged under Operation Legend in Albuquerque – not including Saturday's numbers. They say there are more cases pending, but those are sealed.
Gonzales also mentioned arrests made in the Jacqueline Vigil case, which has garnered national attention.
"We've made numerous arrests in the Vigil case that was recently, they're working on, it's not closed," Gonzales said. "There's been large drug seizures that we've worked on with our federal partners and many arrests with a lot of violent offenders, a lot of those cases are being processed by the U.S. District Attorney's office and they're looking at prosecution with those cases."
Operation Legend has been met with protests in Albuquerque. Gonzales said they've been really struggling with protesters showing up to active scenes.
"In a couple of different incidents, specifically the Vigil case, we were making some arrests in that case, they were very organized," Gonzales said. "They were showing up almost immediately at the crime scene and that poses a threat to our deputies, it poses a threat to our citizens, and there's a place for that."
KOB 4 asked Gonzales if he knew how long the federal agents would be in Albuquerque. He didn't have an answer, but said he'll get back to us.
Copyright 2020 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company