Thursday marked the end of a four-month long drug-trafficking investigation in Portales that led to the arrests of 10 suspects.
Portales police said they are expecting seven more arrests.
The suspects were arrested on felony charges of the possession, sale and trafficking of meth.
Portales Police Chief Doug Jones said it's important to the community that the alleged traffickers were off the street and that these arrests send a message that this community will no longer tolerate this type of crime.
Jones said the suspects were selling drugs out of their vehicles and were significant meth dealers in the area, but declined to give further details.
The Portales Police Department was the lead agency in the investigation code named "Operation Ice Out" and enlisted the help of area law enforcement agencies and the Region V Drug Task Force.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said suspects are looking at a nine-year sentence for a first conviction of trafficking and an 18-year mandatory sentence in prison for a second conviction.
"We're going for the maximum," Chandler said. "We need to send the message to the community we want to live in a safe area."
Chandler added those arrested will be arraigned within 48 hours from their arrests.
"The Portales Police Department worked to take a significant amount of drug traffickers in the community," Chandler said. "Anytime we can take these individuals off the streets, we'll see a reduction in crime."
Portales Mayor King met with the Portales police Thursday morning as they began making arrests. She said she started her day off Thursday celebrating honor students at Valencia Elementary School.
She hopes taking out large amounts of criminals in the community will ensure the safety of those students.
"I'm hoping this will make a difference in their future by getting (the alleged drug traffickers) off the streets," King said.
King added that she appreciated Jones for taking the initiative in leading the investigation.
"I really appreciate Chief Jones taking the bull by the horns on this one," King said.
The following is a list of those arrested Thursday for drug trafficking. The suspects are all from Portales:
- Robert Encinias, 26
- Quinton Griffin, 22
- Charles "Chuck" Lopez, 27
- Andrea Lucero, 26
- Silviano "Silver" Lucero, 24
- Juan C. "Pilario" Martinez, 25
- Mark "Bam" Rodriguez, 25
- Koby Smith, 30
- Aaron "Reymundo" Williams, 28
- Margaret Zertuche, 41