‘Get out’: City, police issue warning to drug dealers

‘Get out’: City, police issue warning to drug dealers

From the Las Vegas Optic

Police in Las Vegas have issued an ultimatum to criminals: Get out of town or go to jail.

The warning was issued Monday by the Las Vegas Police Department. Inspired by Old West lawmen of the 1800s, it reads in part:

“The citizens of Las Vegas have tired of robbery, murder, drug dealing and other crimes that have made this town a byword in every civilized community. They have resolved to put a stop to crime and will NO LONGER allow such actions in Las Vegas.”

The statement warns those who commit these crimes that they must “either leave this town or conform themselves to the requirements of law, or they will be summarily dealt with.”

The warning comes as part of a new focus on the sales of illegal drugs in Las Vegas initiated by Mayor Louie Trujillo.

Trujillo said he directed LVPD to increase enforcement of drug laws because he’s tired of seeing people lose loved ones to drug overdoses, and to drug-related homicides.

“I want people to know that Las Vegas is no place to deal drugs and that we will not tolerate it,” Trujillo said. “Many of the murders, and the gun violence, stem from drugs.”

LVPD, through the Meadow City Task Force, began increasing enforcement of drug crimes this week — with a particular focus on individuals selling and trafficking narcotics in the area — in an operation titled “Get to gettin’,” a name created by LVPD Cmdr. Steve Pacheco.

“It was just something that I thought of. You know, if people want to do stupid things here in town, we don’t want it here, so get to gettin’. Get out. Leave,” Pacheco said. “We don’t want that in our community.”

Pacheco also penned the warning to criminals in the community. He said the idea was inspired by something he read in the Optic a few years ago about lawmen in the 1800s.

LVPD’s warning concluded by saying: “The flow of blood and narcotics must and shall be stopped in this community, and the good citizens of Las Vegas have determined to stop it by bringing to justice by the strong arm of the law every violator in this county.”

The Meadow City Task Force’s operation will be staffed entirely by LVPD officers, at least for now. Pacheco said he’s spoken to the New Mexico State Police about joining as well, but said those discussions are in the early stages and nothing has been decided.

Initial funding for the new operation will come from existing funds that were already allocated to police operations, according to Mayor Trujillo. However, additional funding may be necessary in the future.

“We’re looking at getting even more money, and sort of fortifying that fund with our budget surplus,” Trujillo said.

According to Pacheco, the police department is still working on determining what long-term funding might be required. He said the department is specifically looking at how many overtime hours will be required, and the department will present a specific funding request to the city council at a later date.

For the operation to be a success, Pacheco said the community’s assistance is needed, and LVPD has set up a hotline specifically for Operation Get to Gettin’.

“What we need is the community’s involvement,” he said. “If you know of any persons selling, manufacturing or dealing drugs in your neighborhoods, call. Let us know. All calls are anonymous.”

The hotline is available 24 hours a day, and according to Pacheco, no one will be required to leave their name or phone number. The hotline number is 505-425-8884.

Pacheco also stressed that the more detailed the information people give police, the better chance LVPD has of making an arrest.

Mayor Trujillo said the operation is aimed largely at those selling narcotics and committing violent crimes, and stressed that individuals suffering from addiction are not being targeted.

“Addiction is an illness, and I recognize it as such,” Trujillo said. “There’s people doing work on that front in our community.”

Efforts are underway, led by city and county leaders, to establish an inpatient substance abuse treatment center in Las Vegas. Trujillo said he is working to establish a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, program in the area as well.

“For a while, it wasn’t OK to say ‘we have a drug problem.’ I think the community is coming to grips with acceptance instead of denial — moving into more acceptance that there’s actually a drug problem and people are dying,” Trujillo said. “So I think it’s a prime time to move into very tough enforcement.”