Area law enforcement discovered a plot to harm eight officers and their families while serving routine search warrants last month, officials said, Currentargus reports.
Several people arrested were in possession of specific information about the targeted officers, including home addresses and vehicle types, police said.
The plot targeted specific personnel within the Carlsbad Police Department, Artesia Police Department and the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, according to a news release from the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force.
Information about the plot was uncovered during a joint investigation conducted by CPD and ECSO detectives and the task force on Jan. 31.
Commander James McCormick with the PVDTF said the suspects planned to use firearms and explosives to carry out their plans on the targeted officers.
An “intensive, multi-agency investigation” began once the plot was discovered, police said, and led law enforcement to believe suspects had already taken steps to further the plan.
McCormick said it appears the suspects intended to hire assailants to target the officers.
“As professional law enforcement officers, unfortunately, we all know that violence can visit us at any time,” said Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage in a news release. “However, we take plots such as the one we have been dealing with for the past week very seriously.”
On Feb. 1 and 2, officers and agents traveled to dozens of residences in Carlsbad, Artesia and the county as part of the investigation.
Several arrests were made for a variety of offenses, including for involvement in the plot and drug possession.
More than a dozen fugitives were also arrested. McCormick would not provide the names of those arrested in the plot to protect the ongoing investigation.
Two men are being sought as persons of interest in the investigation: Robert T. Matta, 43, of Carlsbad and Michael W. Grantham, 35, of Artesia.
Additional arrests are likely, he said.
McCormick said he believes the suspects targeted officers for revenge.
“I guess they wanted to send us a message,” McCormick said.
McCormick said additional patrols have been assigned to the targeted officers’ homes and they have been advised to remain extra vigilant.
Since McCormick started working with the task force in 1990, he said this is the fourth time they have thwarted planned attacks on law enforcement.
“The plot identified in Eddy County that specifically targeted Eddy County law enforcement officers is of grave concern and the highest priority for investigation and prosecution,” read a statement from the Fifth Judicial Attorney’s Office.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call 575-887-5194.