ALBUQUERQUE ― A federal jury sitting in Las Cruces, returned a verdict Friday finding five defendants guilty of participating in a violent racketeering enterprise known as the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico (SNM) Prison Gang following a seven-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge James O. Browning.
Joe Lawrence Gallegos, 48, of Los Lunas, Edward Troup, 46, of Albuquerque, Billy Garcia, 63, of Albuquerque, Arturo Arnulfo Garcia, 38, of Denver, Colo., and Andrew Gallegos, 50, of Los Lunas. Two defendants, Allen Patterson, 47, of Silver City, Christopher Chavez, 42, of Albuquerque, were acquitted of the charges against them.
The seven defendants and 23 co-defendants were charged with racketeering offenses in a 15-count superseding indictment filed in April 2016. Three of the 23 co-defendants were convicted and a fourth was acquitted on racketeering charges March 12, 2018, during an earlier federal trial, and 17 others have entered guilty pleas. The remaining co-defendant is a fugitive. A subsequent second superseding indictment added a witness tampering charge against certain defendants.
April 9, 2018, trial commenced against Joe Lawrence Gallegos, Edward Troup, Billy Garcia, Allen Patterson, Christopher Chavez, Arturo Arnulfo Garcia, and Andrew Gallegos on the superseding indictment, which charged the seven defendants with committing the following offenses for the purpose of gaining entrance into and maintaining and increasing their stature within the SNM prison gang:
- Count 1 – Joe Lawrence Gallegos, Edward Troup and Billy Garcia with murdering a person identified as F.C. on March 26, 2001, in Dona Ana County;
- Count 2 – Christopher Chavez, Allen Patterson and Billy Garcia with murdering a person identified as R.G on March 26, 2001, in Dona Ana County;
- Count 3 – Edward Troup, Arturo Arnulfo Garcia with murdering a person identified as F.S. on June 17, 2007, in Dona Ana County;
- Count 4 – Joe Lawrence Gallegos and Andrew Gallegos with conspiring to murder a person identified as A.B. on Nov. 12, 2012, in Socorro and Valencia Counties;
- Count 5 – Joe Lawrence Gallegos and Andrew Gallegos with murdering a person identified as A.B. on Nov. 12, 2012, in Socorro and Valencia Counties;
- Count 13 – Joe Lawrence Gallegos with assaulting with a dangerous weapon a person identified as J.G. on March 17, 2015, in Valencia County;
- Count 14 – Joe Lawrence Gallegos with conspiring to murder a person identified as J.G. between Feb. 1, 2016 and Feb. 27, 2016, in Otero and Valencia Counties; and
- Count 15 – Joe Lawrence Gallegos with attempting to murder and with assaulting with a dangerous weapon and causing serious bodily injury a person identified as J.G. on Feb. 27, 2016, in Valencia County.
- Count 16 – Joe Lawrence Gallegos with witness tampering.
The trial concluded this afternoon when the jury returned a verdict finding Edward Troup, Billy Garcia, Arturo Arnulfo Garcia and Andrew Gallegos guilty on the charges against them. The jury found Joe Lawrence Gallegos guilty on Counts 1, 4 and 5, and acquitted him on Counts 13, 14, 15 and 16. The jury acquitted Allen Patterson and Christopher Chavez on the charges against them.
At sentencing, Joe Lawrence Gallegos, Edward Troup, Billy Garcia, Arturo Arnulfo Garcia and Andrew Gallegos each face a statutory maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The defendants will remain in custody pending their sentencing hearings, which have yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by Albuquerque Division of the FBI and the New Mexico Corrections Department, with assistance from the New Mexico State Police, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, Metropolitan Correctional Center, Albuquerque Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, and the El Paso, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Knoxville FBI Divisions. Assistant U.S. Attorneys of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico are prosecuting the case.