Gunman arrested after drug dealing sting

A fully loaded AR-15 rifle seized during an undercover operation in the distribution of fentanyl last week in Albuquerque. (Source: Albuquerque Police Department)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Authorities say a man was caught with a fully loaded rifle after selling an undercover officer thousands of fentanyl pills Wednesday in Albuquerque.

Juan Luevano is federally charged with distributing fentanyl and carrying a firearm in a drug trafficking felony.

Authorities say the operation caught the 29-year-old with a loaded AR-15 rifle, thousands of fentanyl pills, $20,000, heroin and cannabis. Luevano was arrested Wednesday and taken to the Cibola County Federal Detention Center.

Albuquerque police spokeswoman Rebecca Atkins said Luevano and his wife own Chenelle’s Beauty Supply on the West Side.

A woman who answered the phone on Thursday said that was not true.

“I own my own business. This company bears my name; he is not the owner,” she told the Journal, declining to be named. “I’m not saying he doesn’t work here, but I’m not saying he does.”

The woman said she didn’t want her company involved “in any of this.”

By Friday morning, the store’s Facebook profile had been deleted.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court:

The Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating Luevano’s alleged drug trafficking activities in late May. On May 31, an undercover officer paid Luevano $11,900 for 4,050 fentanyl pills during an encounter in northeast Albuquerque.

The undercover officer bought more drugs from Luevano on Wednesday before authorities took him into custody. Officers found nearly 300 fentanyl tablets in Luevano’s car, along with a fully loaded AR-15 rifle under the driver’s seat.

Officers then searched Luevano’s home and found more fentanyl pills, handgun parts, ammunition, heroin and 10 pounds of cannabis.