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LCPD says city council limited ability to deal with migrants found in hotel room

UPDATE, July 28: New information emerged Wednesday about an alleged case of human trafficking at a Las Cruces hotel where 25 people were reportedly found crammed in a room following a 911 call by a manger of a delivery firm that supplied food to that room.

Police, based on a December 2017 resolution approved by City Council declaring Las Cruces a welcoming community for all, say they were prohibited from detaining or arresting people based on their nationality or ethnicity. LCPD also said they can't seek proof of a person's citizenship status, or assist other agencies in immigration matters under the resolution.

"They were trying to provide a balance between not violating anyone's rights, but also making sure that what they saw or felt may been happening, was not happening," Mayor Ken Miyagishima told ABC-7. He added that if officers had observed a crime being committed, they would have dealt with it appropriately.

In addition, the chief of the LCPD, Miguel Dominguez, told ABC-7 that officers responded to a "welfare check" at the hotel and, contrary to the 911 caller, they did not observe anyone naked.

Meanwhile, an employee of Rodeway Inn & Suites told ABC-7 that the hotel is located on open property and whoever rented the room likely let people in without the hotel knowing.

The mayor told ABC-7 that eight of the 25 people found in the hotel room tested positive for Covid-19 and were being quarantined. A source indicated that all of the 25 were migrants from Guatemala, Mexico or Ecuador.

ORIGINAL REPORT, July 27: LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The manager of a food delivery restaurant called 911 about an alleged case of human trafficking after her drivers witnessed multiple occupants, including naked women, crammed inside a west Las Cruces hotel room.

“We believe that there may be fraud or… sex trafficking at a location that we delivered to earlier today," the manager told the 911 operator in a call last Friday, a copy of which was obtained by ABC-7 on Tuesday.

In room 257 of the Rodeway Inn & Suites at 901 Avenida de Mesilla, the caller said her drivers observed multiple people crammed inside one room. She said older men were sharing rooms with girls who appeared to be younger.

"One of my drivers came back and she said she thought she saw a bunch of young girls that were naked," the caller said. "There were older men there and it just didn’t seem safe."

The 911 caller told the dispatcher that one of the girls appeared to be under the influence of some sort of illicit drug.

Las Cruces Police Chief Miguel Dominguez confirmed that police did respond to the hotel last Friday evening. He said there were 25 different people in two rooms, with men in one room and women in the other.

“We reached out to community resources and we were able to get them put up safely for the night," Dominguez said. "I can’t divulge information other than that.”

At this time, he said there have not yet been charges filed.

New Mexico / News / Top Stories / Video

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

Rachel Phillips

Tom Scott

Tom Scott is ABC-7’s news operations manager for our New Mexico mobile newsroom.



  1. Um, they did observe a crime. Obviously trafficking was happening. Did they interview the younger females? Did they test for drugs? Did the just test for covid and send them on their way?

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