APD hopes to expand Digital Intelligence Team following major arrests
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Cell phone data is playing a role in the case against Muhammad Syed. He’s the main suspect in several killings, over the span of months, that targeted Muslim men in Albuquerque.
Just yesterday, Syed was charged with a third killing.
Cell phone data also links his son – Shaheen Syed – to the murders, but he is not facing any murder charges at this time.
Three women are responsible for a large number of arrests in Albuquerque and they’re not even police officers.
The civilian group called the Digital Intelligence Team is getting results. Now, APD wants more funding to grow a team they say can make a major impact on holding criminals accountable.
“It’s kind of akin to if you went back to the 70’s and 80’s when fingerprints were starting to come online,” said APD Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock.
Hartsock says APD is getting ahead of the technology curve.
“The fact that we have to gather cell phone records and find the root of where individuals were,” said APD Chief Harold Medina.
Like Joseph Carcia, the self-proclaimed mayor of Coronado Park who was arrested for shooting and killing a man that was caught on camera. But that wasn’t a slam dunk for investigators.
“We had video, but the video can be ambiguous to who is in it,” said Hartsock. “When we got his phone data back, it wasn’t generalized at all.”
Then there was Syed, who is accused of killing two Muslim men. Until police say cell phone data connected him to the murder of a third Muslim man.
“The intelligence team was inside the FBI’s command post the entire five days,” Hartsock said.
Every single APD-investigated homicide gets assigned to one of the three Digital Intelligence Team members.
Hartsock hopes soon an expanded team could soon tackle different Duke City crimes.
“We’re trying to add at least four more positions so that we can handle, not just homicide cases which is a large part of their day. But, we can also handle sexual assault cases more frequently, armed robbery cases, drug trafficking organization, and our shootings that don’t result in murders, right? These are all these big, really important categories that the type of work they could do could absolutely help solve more crimes,” said Hartsock.
He says they are starting the process to seek funding to hire four more people and technology upgrades, but didn’t say specifically how much funding they’re seeking.