A narcotic search warrant of a Magdalena residence led to the arrest of 74-year-old Gary Payne and the recovery of 30 fentanyl pills, a quarter ounce of methamphetamines and a stolen vehicle.

“This came about because numerous citizens of Magdalena are just tired of all the drug trafficking; this our second bust in Magdalena in the last month,” Sheriff Lee Armijo said.

According to Sheriff’s reports, deputies conducted the search at 8:15 a.m. on January 22 at a residence on Tenth Street, where they found Payne laying on a couch. Payne stated that he had medical issues preventing him from standing up, so an ambulance was called to assist in escorting him out of the residence.

Deputy Gilbert Padilla reported that when the ambulance arrived, he noticed that Payne was putting his hands under the blanket and reaching towards his groin area. While Payne was moving around in the bed deputies saw a dark vial above his genitals. Deputy Michael Perrault grabbed the vial marked “M-30” and noticed that it contained small blue pills.

On the way to the hospital in an ambulance, Payne was escorted to the Socorro County Detention Center so detention officers could perform a thorough search of Payne’s person, said reports. The officers located more pills and methamphetamine on Payne, the evidence was collected, and he was transported to the hospital.

A search of Payne’s home, they located a woman who was escorted out, a digital scale and a total of $3,559 in cash. While on the scene, deputies ran the license plate of a blue Chevy pickup truck through NCIC which indicated that the plate belonged to a red vehicle. The VIN of the blue pickup came back as a reported stolen vehicle and the plate belonged to another vehicle registered under Payne.

Armijo said that Payne was not released for incarceration by the hospital due to health problems and was released after his first appearance in front of a judge.
Armijo said he believes Payne and 58-year-old Jason Sais are the two main drug dealers in Magdalena. They have both been on the sheriff’s department radar and busted multiple times over the years.

According to Socorro County Detention center records, Sais of Magdalena was arrested and charged on January 1, with possession of a controlled substance (schedule I, II, or III), possession of a controlled substances (methamphetamines) and a magistrate bench warrant (failure to pay). He was released January 2.

“Drug dealers are kind of like coyotes; you get rid of one and two more take its place and it’s hard to keep them down because there is such a market for certain drugs. Addiction is crazy and people will pay just about anything to get their fix,” Armijo said.

He said recently the Sheirff’s Department been able to get some money to fight narcotics from one of Senator Sanchez’s junior bills, which gave the department money to put towards narcotic investigations in in Socorro County. He said the Sheriff’s department has plans to hit northern Socorro County and the city in the near future.

“The community needs to know that we are not going to stop, we are going to do everything we can to get drugs off the street and keep them away from our loved ones, our family members and our friends,” Armijo said.

“Maybe people will start thinking twice before they sell drugs because they know ‘hey there’s a good chance I’m going to get caught’. Right now, I don’t know if anyone’s afraid really, but it’s going to be my job to make them be afraid and make them think twice,” Armijo said.