ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration claim meth from Mexico is to blame for Albuquerque’s violent crime and homicide rate.

By KOB’s count, there’s been at least 56 murders in 2020.

‘Drugs do play a big part in driving violent crime,’ said Kyle Williamson, the DEA’s special agent in charge of the El Paso division which oversees New Mexico and parts of west Texas.

Williamson told KOB 4 the DEA has brought in additional agents from El Paso to help combat drug trafficking and reduce violence.

‘It’s cartel on cartel violence, it’s gang on gang violence and it leads to people who abuse it who get high and go on a rage and kill somebody,’ he said.

Recently, Dakota Briscoe was arrested for allegedly shooting two people in the head then burning their bodies. 

According to court documents, both victims and Briscoe had a history of selling methamphetamine.

Police also interviewed a person that claimed Briscoe had smoked meth hours before shooting and killing two people.

Williamson said meth is the biggest drug problem facing New Mexico.

‘So six months ago we launched Operation Crystal Shield with the purpose of targeting methamphetamine importation and distribution,’ said Williamson.

‘As of last week, we have arrested 176 people and seized close to 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine along with seizing $1.1 million in drug proceeds,’ he added.

Albuquerque’s violent crime rate is more than three times the national average, according to the FBI.

Williamson said the additional agents from El Paso are part of Operation Legend.

In addition to prosecuting drug traffickers, Williamson said he wants to increase the DEA’s education outreach in the Albuquerque area.