03/28/2001

Inmate killings believed to be gang 'house-cleaning, New Mexico

March 28, 2001
(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – Investigators believe that two prison inmates were killed as a result of a dispute within the gang that both men belonged to.

β€œIt was an internal house-cleaning, basically,” said Gerges Scott, a spokesman for the New Mexico Corrections Department.

Scott said that gang members may have been at odds over drug-dealing within the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility.

Rolando Garza, 23, and Frank Castillo, 32, both natives of Albuquerque, were found dead in their bunks Monday morning. Scott said that corrections officers at first thought they had died of drug overdoses, but an autopsy Tuesday determined they had been strangled.

To reduce gang-related violence within its prisons, New Mexico sends members of the same group to the same prison and keeps them in areas separate from inmates with no affailiations, Scott said. He said that the department does not name the gangs to avoid giving them the notoriety they seek.

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