Police Abuse

Albuquerque Cop Shoots Undercover Officer Over $60 Meth Deal


Albuquerque Journal

A police officer in Albuquerque shot an undercover narcotics officer during a $60 meth deal this weekend. The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) won't release the names of any of the officers involved or provide an explanation of how the shooting happened or why. Here's what the Albuquerque Journal reports:

The criminal complaint states that [undercover officer Holly] Garcia met a suspect, Damien Bailey, whose name is also spelled Damian Bailey in jail records, near Dunes and Whispering Sands SE to buy $60 worth of "shards," which is a slang term for meth. She arrived with [undercover officer Jacob] Grant, who was assisting her in the investigation.

Nearby narcotics detectives watched Bailey get in the front passenger seat of the car Garcia was driving and another man, Edmond Vester, get in the rear passenger seat, according to the complaint.

Garcia drove them to the Econo Lodge near Central and Tramway. Vester went into a room at the motel and came back to the vehicle with the meth, according to the complaint.

Garcia then drove to the McDonald's nearby and gave the bust signal. It was then that the shooting took place. Witnesses said they heard around five shots. Police said the officer was shot multiple times, but the exact number wasn't known.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the car doors where Bailey and Vester were sitting were open, but police haven't released details about any perceived threat or why the lieutenant opened fire. The complaint makes no mention of the suspects having a gun at the scene.

Bailey and Vester were taken into custody. They were booked into jail early Saturday on drug trafficking charges.

"We're getting some push back because (the investigation) was for $60 of meth," said Albuquerque police officer Tanner Tixier, a spokesman. "But that's how these investigations work. You start with $20, $40, $60 buys. You can't just go out and buy five pounds of meth."

Tixier may be right. But a $60 buy won't lead to a deal for five pounds of meth if you've bust the guy selling $60 worth of meth. Perhaps cops were hoping to get him to turn state's evidence—to pressure him into being a snitch in exchange for not throwing him in jail for trying to sell a product someone told him they wanted to buy. It's not possible when the bust and the complaint ends up in the news, helped along there by sloppy police work.

Over the last few years, police in Albuquerque have fatally shot more people than the New York Police Department, despite New York City having a population 7 15 times higher. The Department of Justice announced the results of its review into abuse at the APD, finding reason to believe systematic civil rights violations were occurring. Limiting the interactions between police and residents by decriminalizing inherently non-violent behavior is an important first step in helping to get cops to chill out.

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  1. I’m genuinely surprised that the meth dealers they arrested haven’t been charged with shooting the cop yet. I’m sure that will happen in time though.

  2. Was flipping through the channels the other day and saw Wardens. I figured, hey, maybe a cops show that won’t piss me off. Boy was I wrong. I was expecting to see these guys protecting the environment and wildlife, but no. They were going after druggies and prostitutes, and then stealing their cars.

    1. The only LEOs worse than game wardens is the highway patrol. They’re the type of cops that even other cops think are power drunk assholes.

      1. I’m my part of Ohio,the A OHWP even has their own bar so they don’t have to mingle with the county sheriffs.A judge friend of my says the lie on the stand out of habit.He use to throw out their cases all the time.They were happy when he went to a higher court.

  3. Well, obviously Vester and Bailey need to be charged with that shooting.

  4. “We’re getting some push back because (the investigation) was for $60 of meth,” said Albuquerque police officer Tanner Tixier, a spokesman.

    “But we just needed a quick fix.”

  5. Over the last few years, police in Albuquerque have fatally shot more people than the New York Police Department, despite New York City having a population 7 times higher.

    More like 15 times higher.

    Albuquerque – 556,495 people (as of 2013?)


    NYC – 8,405,837 people (as of 2013?)


    1. Based solely on Breaking Bad, Albuquerque’s population seems way higher.

      1. I would have guessed lower than that. Whereever they were filming looked so sleepy.

      2. In 2012, Albuquerque had less than 50 homicides.

        Over five seasons of BB, there were something like 400 homicides.

        1. Not even close

          If you subtract the random* airline disaster which killed 168 people…

          (* i think ‘parent distraught over heroin overdose of child suddenly becomes incompetent air-controller’ is a tad hard to lay on the doorstep of ‘erstwhile meth dealers’. At a certain point, its not their fault anymore, shit happens)

          … the number is “101”

  6. did the undercover die? were they rushed to the hospital?

    1. Critical condition, apparently. The article linked doesn’t describe the events of the actual shooting so it must have been a total clusterfuck. Panic fire would be my guess.

      1. thanks. i guess i could’ve googled… but I expected it in the article.

    2. Yes unlike when they leave a suspect to bleed out

      1. It’s good to know I’m not the only one paying attention.

  7. Ha, ha.

  8. This was no accident, the cop shot 5 times, he fully intended to kill the other guy.

    So what exactly did the other guy do to deserve being shot to death? There’s no question that if it were a non-cop who had been shot the investigation would have determined that it was a good shoot, that the shooter was fully justified in using lethal force against a perceived threat to his life or the lives of others – so what was the perceived threat from the undercover cop?

    It’s going to be tricky arguing that the undercover cop did nothing to warrant being shot to death while simultaneously arguing that the other cop was fully justified in opening fire, so I’m just going to go ahead and guess that that question will never be asked or addressed by the media or the cops.

    But goddammit, somebody needs to be asking the question. What did the undercover cop do to deserve being shot, and if he did nothing that would reasonably be perceived as a lethal threat (as you might think a cop would not pose any kind of threat to a fellow cop) then why the hell isn’t the shooter in jail on attempted murder charges?

    1. I think you read too much intention into the officer’s conduct. He likely had his weapon drawn while closing in for the bust, something spooked him, and he began firing blindly at the car. Negligence really isn’t a novel feature of cop behavior. My girlfriend suggested that the sole prerequisite to earning a badge is demonstrating that you can make the “come hither” gesture with your trigger finger. That and a sociopathic tendency buys you lifetime tenure.

      You’re right that brass and the media will elide any airing of this incident, though.

    2. Dipshit cop may have thought the driver was the dealer rather than the narc. If the narc put car in reverse and back-up lights went on, the trigger-happy pig may have thought that was the go-signal to open fire since she was in operation of a deadly weapon.

    3. Albequerque cops; self defense.

    4. His being an undercover cop is enough to make this a good outcome.

  9. Reminds me of this classic from the New Jersey mob:

    One informer testified that two would-be “hitters,” trying to gun down a victim while they were sitting in a car, became so frantic that they shot each other instead.

    1. I had one case where a Latin King tried shooting at a Vice Lord as they drove by. He shot gangsta rap video style…. naturally a hot shell casing lodged right behind his ear and he panicked as it burned him. Several wild shots through the car’s roof and windows later, the driver crashed.
      The guy they were trying to kill never even noticed.

  10. An undercover cop shot an undercover cop? Philip K. Dick is laughing his ass off somewhere.

  11. my buddy’s sister-in-law makes $67 an hour on the internet . She has been without a job for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $12455 just working on the internet for a few hours. website link……….
    ????? http://www.work-reviews.com

  12. Han shot first!

  13. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 /hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  14. Who got shot? Was it Garcia? Did Garcia die?

    Please, I know I have a lot on my mind today, but write an article that makes sense.

  15. The only thing better than a jihadi getting shot is a jihadi getting shot by friendly fire.

  16. Kind of hard to comment when they haven’t released any details yet. Could be one of the arresting officers was confused about who was undercover and when Garcia failed to show compliance he interpreted her actions– maybe she reached for something — as threatening.

    Very surprised how little compassion there is for the police here. Half the comments sound like the Ferguson mob.

    1. I didn’t see any reader comments in the Albuquerque Journal article that had any sympathy for police.

      Guess the locals know their own police department.

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