ANTHONY, N.M. (AP) — Twenty-two people were arrested on drug trafficking and other charges Wednesday during an early morning raid around the New Mexico border town of Anthony, federal officials said.
Residents of the town, which straddles New Mexico and Texas just north of El Paso, woke to the sounds of helicopters, bangs and screaming as federal and local agents conducted an early morning sweep on homes.
New Mexico U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales said at a news conference that 29 people are charged in 13 criminal complaints with distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana in and around southern Dona Ana County. Besides the 22 who were arrested, five people are fugitives, and two already were in state custody on other charges.
One of the defendants also is charged with illegally entering the United States after having been deported, and another is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms, authorities said.
FBI officials declined to say if those charged had ties to any Mexican drug cartels.
Authorities said a total of seven search warrants were executed, and 20 weapons, 3 kilograms of cocaine, 2 pounds of marijuana and $35,000 in cash was seized in the raids.
"At 5 a.m. we heard a big boom," said Angie Marquez, 19, who lives across the street and three doors down from a home that had its front door busted in. "It was really loud. My mom was the one who told me to get up because there were a lot of cops."
Marquez said she did not know who lived at the home.
"I heard one of the cops screaming," Marquez said. "I couldn't hear what he said. And there was lots of FBI, and they stayed in the house until it was morning. Then they started leaving."
Another neighbor, Aurelia Morales, 49, said she saw four helicopters circling overhead during the raid.
At another home on Katy Street, federal agents broke through a 4-foot-high chain link fence, tore the bars off a window, broke the window and knocked down the front door.
The criminal complaints, which were filed under seal on April 29 and May 6, were unsealed following the early morning roundup.
Of the 29 defendants charged, 17 are residents of Anthony, N.M., and four are residents of Anthony, Texas, according to authorities. Two others are residents of Berino, N.M., two live in Las Cruces, N.M., two live in Canutillo, Texas, one is in Los Lunas, N.M., and one is in Vado, N.M.