- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Twenty-five members of a major prison gang have been named in two indictments that accuse them of a host of crimes including murder, drug dealing and kidnapping.

In two indictments unsealed Thursday in federal court, members of Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico are described as coercing members outside of prison to engage in murder, assault, kidnapping and conspiracy to distribute drugs and firearms, The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1HKOxxE).

SNM formed after a 1980 prison riot at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in which 33 inmates died, more than 200 were hurt and 12 corrections officers were taken hostage, assaulted and raped by inmates. The gang has since expanded to include up to 500 members.

One of the indictments accuses nine members of the gang of being leaders in the enterprise and names them in multiple murders dating back to 2001.

According to the indictment, the gang has a violent war with rivals including Barrio Aztec, Los Carnales, Sureno and Burquenos gangs. SNM members are expected to beat, stab or shoot rival gang members, and to confront and attack suspected informers, cooperating witnesses, gays or sex offenders.

A second, related indictment charges others with violent crimes in aid of racketeering.

It is unclear from the indictments which of the 25 total defendants were in prison when the case was indicted and which, if any, were not imprisoned. Indictments typically are not unsealed until most or all defendants are in custody.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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