According to New Mexico’s own Attorney General, the state has had one of the nation’s highest drug overdose death rates for the past fifteen years. More than 800 New Mexicans died of drug overdoses in 2020, compared to fewer than 200 homicides, and the state Department of Health reports that the fentanyl-involved death rate has spiked by 700% since 2016.
New Mexico’s drug trade is also helping to fuel violent crime, which has been steadily rising for several years even as Democrats have imposed “universal” background checks, “red flag” laws, and other gun control measures. In fact, on Monday legislative committees advanced a pair of new restrictions aimed directly at legal gun owners.
HB9, the gun owner liability bill, and SB116, the magazine and semiautomatic firearm ban for those under 21, both passed through committees today on party-line votes. #2a https://t.co/jwCIFlaEBz
— NM Shooting Sports Association (@NM_SSA) January 31, 2023
While the state’s Democratic majority is myopically focused on responsible citizens, they’re turning a blind eye to the failures of the criminal justice system in dealing with those who are directly responsible for both violent deaths and fatal overdoses. The most recent example? An Albuquerque woman busted with nearly 900 fentanyl pills who managed to get away with a measly two days behind bars.
Albuquerque Police Department posted photos to their Facebook Wednesday to announce the arrest of Mariona King.
According to a criminal complaint, King was stopped with her child near the Cinnamon Tree Apartments last Thursday when officers noticed a fentanyl pill inside the car.
A search warrant led to 878 fentanyl pills and $8,495.
King was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance a felony.
As KRQE reports, King’s first court appearance was on Friday, and what normally is a brief formality ended up being the last time she’ll appear in court on those charges. King ended up pleading no contest to a single misdemeanor count of criminal trespass, and the judge handed down a two-day sentence. With credit for time served(!) King was allowed to walk out of court with her case a free woman. It doesn’t even sound like she was given probation as part of the plea deal.
The news station reports it reached out to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office to find out why King was given such a sweet deal, but never heard back. My guess is that King cut a deal with prosecutors to provide information on where she got the hundreds of pills in exchange for reduced charges, but that still doesn’t explain the overly generous offer given to her or the speed at which the deal was implemented. I’ve looked for news of a major drug bust in Albuquerque in the days since King walked out of court, but haven’t been able to find any evidence that major suppliers have been arrested or charged over that time period.
New Mexico has a lot of problems, but the state’s law-abiding gun owners aren’t among them. Democrats in Santa Fe should be taking a long, hard look at how their current criminal justice policies are fueling drug overdose deaths and violent crime, not trying to criminalize a constitutionally-protected right. Unfortunately, the voters delivered even bigger margins for Democrats in the legislature last November, and elections have consequences… even if getting caught with 878 fentanyl pills in Albuquerque does not.