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Five locals arrested in drug bust

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Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2012 12:00 am

Four people from Rio Rancho and one from Albuquerque were arrested on drug charges after a three-month probe by area law enforcement agencies.

Rio Rancho police, the Region One Narcotics Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration worked on the case and executed warrants Thursday morning in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, RRPD Sgt. Nicholas Onken said.

Warrants were executed on the 100 block of Coral and the 1100 block of Bertha, Onken said. Rio Rancho SWAT surrounded the residence in the 100 block of Coral and shortly after, one of the occupants tried to run. He was immediately arrested after having to be tased, Onken said.

From the residences in Rio Rancho, police seized a "moderate" amount of heroin and a "considerable" amount of methamphetamine and black tar heroin, Onken said. All appeared to be packaged for resale.

This investigation led officers to a site in Albuquerque, where a search warrant was simultaneously executed, Onken said. At this residence, officers found 10 rifles, six handguns, a "sizeable" amount of heroin and marijuana as well as a large amount of prescription pharmaceuticals, Onken said.

Arrested in the operation were:

• Brian Spear, 26, of Rio Rancho

• Angela Pirtle, 37, of Rio Rancho

• Nicholas Howland, 25, of Rio Rancho

• Leah Curtis, 33, of Rio Rancho

• Noah Howland, 30, of Albuquerque

The Region One Narcotics Taskforce is made up of officers from Rio Rancho police, the Valencia County Sheriff's Office, Pojoaque police, Albuquerque police and the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office.

- Brad Buck

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