Updated May 3 at 4 p.m.
A half-dozen New Mexico State Police units bordered the west side of Paseo del Pueblo Norte in front of Taos Pizza Out Back late Saturday afternoon (April 29) as officers served a search warrant at a nearby residence and arrested two individuals - Jaelynn Duran and Anitamaria Gabaldon - both on felony drug charges.
The two women were incarcerated in the Taos County Adult Detention Center following their arrest.
Chief Judge Ernest Ortega arraigned Duran on Monday (May 1) on two counts of possession of a controlled substance, a felony; tampering with evidence, a felony; resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor; and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. The defendant is being held on a $40,000 cash-only bond.
Gabaldon was arraigned on Tuesday (May 2) before Judge Jeff Shannon on charges that include trafficking a controlled substance, a felony; possession of a controlled substance, a felony; resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor; possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor; and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. Bond for the defendant was set at $10,000, cash only.
Since both individuals face felony charges, their cases will likely be referred to judges in Taos District Court following arraignment.
During the arresting incident, Officer Alexander Bennett - who was recently recognized as New Mexico State Police officer of the year - executed the search warrant at the "blue house" located at 718 Paseo del Pueblo Norte with other responding officers around 5 p.m. Inside, the officers encountered four individuals, according to Lt. Edwardo Martinez, commander of the New Mexico State Police, Taos District.
"Two people were arrested - one for possession of methamphetamine and heroin. Her name is Jaelynn Duran," Martinez said during a phone interview Sunday afternoon (April 30). "The second suspect, Anitamaria Gabaldon, was arrested on methamphetamine trafficking and drug possession charges," Martinez said.
"The two other individuals in the house were known drug users, but didn't have any warrants and were released," Martinez said.
Duran, 25, and Gabaldon, 42, were subsequently incarcerated in the Taos County Adult Detention Center.
Martinez said that Saturday's operation was a "follow-up" to a state police drug bust that occurred on March 15. During the incident, state police obtained a search warrant after sighting a stolen vehicle in the driveway of another residence in the 700 block of Paseo del Pueblo Norte. Five people were arrested when the warrant was executed - some for drug trafficking that Martinez believes may be part of a larger network in the area, which Duran and Gabaldon may have also been associated with.
"We're continuing off the same investigation," Martinez said. "We performed a knock-and-talk and were able to obtain enough information to get a search warrant for the house."
The lieutenant said the investigation began, in part, after local residents submitted numerous complaints alleging drug trafficking in the area.