On New Year’s Eve 2022, Monique Alcazar found herself on the side of Route 41, a police cruiser’s flashing lights behind her. Inside the cruiser, Sheriff’s Deputy Pablo Arreola prepared a traffic citation for an allegedly obstructed license plate (an offense that Albuquerque is now cracking down on as well). Arreola reported that he suspected that Alcazar was involved in more than just a traffic violation. He suspected Alcazar was acting as a drug mule. Under the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution and the US Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Arvizu, 534 US 266 (2002), Arreola could search Alcazar’s vehicle based on what he claimed was his reasonable suspicion of Alcazar’s involvement in the drug trade. Upon conducting the search, Arreola found 28.8 grams of methamphetamine and a 9 mm Taurus G2c handgun. Later, the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office would identify this handgun as one reported as stolen.
Alcazar’s Defense attorneys will likely try to claim at trial that Arreola’s search of the vehicle was unconstitutional because of a lack of reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct. Magistrate Craig Davis apparently appointed the Law Office of Kathleen Rhinehart (no website available) to represent Alcazar on January 12, 2023. Davis also ordered a continuance of the matter on January 30, 2023, presumably so both parties could prepare for trial.