SANTA FE — Today, Gov. Susana Martinez announced the capture of the 100th DWI fugitive in New Mexico since the roundup began late last year.
In December, Martinez directed New Mexico State Police and the Department of Corrections Absconder Unit to track down and arrest DWI offenders – including repeat offenders and those who have killed or seriously injured families on the road – and have now skipped out on parole or probation and are hiding from the law.
“These captures send a strong message: If you drink and drive and try to avoid justice, you will not get away with it. Law enforcement will find you, and you will pay the price,” Martinez said. “DWI has been a problem in our state for too long. We’re going to continue doing everything we can to crack down on drunk driving, and that includes finding and capturing those who refuse to take responsibility for their actions.”
Of the 100, 13 of those captured were considered “Top 10” offenders, and 55 had multiple DWI arrests or killed someone while driving drunk.
The list of most wanted DWI fugitives is available online here. Many of these offenders are also violent criminals who drove drunk and either seriously injured another driver or killed them, or they are repeat offenders who are at high-risk for causing a tragedy to occur in the future.
“When drunk drivers think they can evade justice, we are more than happy to prove them wrong and provide a free ride straight to jail,” State Police Chief Pete Kassettas said. “Drunk drivers hurt our communities, and we’ll keep doing everything we can to make sure drunk drivers are behind bars and off our roads.”
This announcement comes on the heels of Governor Martinez unveiling a series of powerful new TV ads to fight DWI. The new ads focus on DWI from the perspective of a surgeon trying to save the life of a mother hit by a drunk driver. The ads are part of the 100 Days and Nights of Summer safety campaign, which runs until the end of September. Drivers can expect to see more DWI checkpoints, saturation patrols, and more officers on the road.
Governor Martinez has repeatedly fought for tougher DWI penalties. Just this year, she signed legislation that cracks down on the worst repeat DWI offenders and increases penalties for drunk drivers who kill. This legislation builds on Governor Martinez’s recent executive initiatives to crack down on DWI throughout New Mexico. These include: targeting repeat offenders and the establishments that over-serve them; a court monitoring program that will place citizens inside courtrooms in five counties to shed light on how DWI cases are handled; and an ongoing roundup of DWI fugitives.