New Mexico - The Southwest Investigative Fugitive Task Force (SWIFT) has been diligent in looking for criminals that think that they can find refuge in the Land of Enchantment. Marshal Conrad Candelaria stated, “All violent crime has a deteriorating effect on any community but the unconscionable crime of homicide has a long lasting demoralizing effect on the families and the entire community. For this reason, the U.S. Marshals Service for the District of New Mexico relentlessly pursues every investigative lead, regardless of locality, state or jurisdiction, pursuing fugitives so that justice can be served. In some instances the apprehension may take, months, years or decades but eventually accountability will be served”.
Albuquerque - On 09/02/2015, police were called to the 4500 block of Carlisle Blvd. NE, to assist with a shooting. The victim Desnionta Fuqua, 31, was transported to the hospital, but succumbed to the laceration wounds allegedly inflicted by suspect Deven Wallace, 30. On 09/21/2015 Albuquerque SWIFT members were asked to assist in locating this fugitive from justice. Wallace’s vehicle was located at a Yuma, Arizona Walmart, therefore SWIFT members waited for the fugitive to return. Wallace was placed under arrest without incident on a warrant for an open count of Homicide, and was booked into the Yuma County Jail and will be extradited to New Mexico.
Ruidoso - On 09/18/2015, investigators from the Florida/ Caribbean Fugitive Regional Task Force requested assistance from the SWIFT team and learned that murder fugitive Merl Mackey,72, was possibly in the Southwest region. Las Cruces and Roswell SWIFT members immediately began to gather information that the fugitive was actually in Ruidoso Downs. Mackey was allegedly known to set up a bogus booth to collect money “for” the Wounded Warriors Project and was located doing just that, in front of a Walmart. Mackey was wanted on a warrant for premeditated murder by the Levy County Sheriff’s Office which was issued by a Grand Jury in Levy County, Florida. Mackey was accused of killing his wife in 1981. Mackey was booked into the Lincoln County Jail where he will await extradition to Florida. The Wounded Warrior Project was informed of the incident.
Albuquerque - On 08/19/2015, SWIFT members were summoned by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department to assist in the apprehension of fugitive Michael Gardner. Gardner was wanted on a warrant for a homicide for the murder of victim Michael Vilapando. Vilapando succumbed to his multiple stab wounds and died at UNM Hospital. The investigation revealed information that led SWIFT members to the 400th block of Grove Street, SE. where the fugitive was located and placed under arrest without incident. Gardner was booked into the Albuquerque Metropolitan Detention Center. It was alleged that the fight was over a debt of $14.00.
For these three arrests, the Marshals Service Southwest Investigative Task Force was comprised of Deputy Marshals from Las Cruces Cruces, Roswell and Albuquerque, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Ruidoso Police Department, Ruidoso Downs Police Department, Florida/ Caribbean TFO’s, and the Arizona Police Department.