August 4, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SANTA FE, NM — Today, New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez and Human Services Department Cabinet Secretary Kari Armijo announce a new public awareness campaign, “Don’t Be Taken For a Ride”. This campaign provides an avenue with the 988 crisis lifeline to report suspicious activity surrounding the behavioral health treatment scam that has been affecting our most vulnerable, unsheltered populations throughout New Mexico.
New Mexicans, who are often struggling with substance use disorders are being lured into vehicles with the promise of drugs, alcohol, money, shelter, or treatment for their conditions when instead they are being transported across state lines to illegitimate recovery facilities. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office as well as the FBI are investigating and suspending Arizona scammers who have been involved in these activities. The New Mexico Office of the Attorney General is looking for tips into these perpetrators with the result ending in criminal prosecution.
“This campaign is extremely important to me and my team as we are looking for information against these bad actors that will hopefully lead to an arrest and criminal charges,” said Attorney General Raúl Torrez. “I thank HSD, FBI Albuquerque, 988 and all other partners who are helping to share this message so that we can take down these deceptive and illegitimate ‘providers’ who harm our community members and resources.”
“It’s unconscionable that anyone would promise to help and then illegally transport the most vulnerable New Mexicans out of state,” said Kari Armijo acting cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department. “True help for someone in need never comes with a bribe.”
The 988 crisis line always accepts calls from those in a crisis. Callers to 988 can receive referrals to behavioral health services and report suspicious activity. During this campaign the 988 crisis lifeline is able to document tips and transfer calls to Special Agents within the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General.