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Press Release

Member of Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico prison gang faces federal charges of racketeering and firearm possession

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

            ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Jody Rufino Martinez, 40, of Truchas, New Mexico appeared in federal court in Albuquerque yesterday for arraignment on a superseding indictment charging him with racketeering and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

            A grand jury returned the superseding indictment charging these offenses on Dec. 11, 2019.   A grand jury previously indicted Martinez on Oct. 16, 2019, for the firearm offense only.  According to the superseding indictment, Martinez was a member of the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico gang from 1998 through June 7, 2019.  SNM is a powerful and violent prison gang formed soon after a deadly riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in 1980.  SNM has allegedly controlled drug distribution and other illegal activities within the New Mexico prison system and engaged in street-level narcotics trafficking. 

            The superseding indictment accuses Martinez of racketeering conspiracy for conducting affairs of the SNM gang as a criminal enterprise through a pattern of criminal activity.  This activity allegedly included beating a corrections officer on Oct. 31, 1999, and shooting a rival and intimidating a witness on Oct. 24, 2018. 

            Martinez is currently in custody awaiting trial on the superseding indictment.  He faces up to 20 years in prison for racketeering and up to 10 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  An indictment is only an accusation.  A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

            The FBI investigated this case with the New Mexico Corrections Department and the New Mexico State Police.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case.

Updated January 6, 2020

Press Release Number: 19-202