A motorcycle gang shootout in Texas that left nine people dead and 18 others wounded has put law enforcement agencies on alert for an annual motorcycle gathering in northern New Mexico.
Authorities say they are heightened awareness for the Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally in Red River that is expected to attract 20,000 bikers, though spillover violence isn't expected.
"We will tell officers to be extra vigilant," said Red River Town Marshal David Smith. "We are asking them to be proactive to make sure groups are not de facto setting up territory on street corners."
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Past attendees of the New Mexico event in the state's Enchanted Circle include members of the Bandidos, who authorities say were involved in the shooting in Waco.
About 170 bikers have been charged with engaging in organized crime stemming from the shooting, with bond set at $1 million for each suspect.
The U.S. Justice Department said in a report on outlaw motorcycle gangs that the Bandidos "constitute a growing criminal threat" and they are involved in transporting cocaine and methamphetamine.
After meeting with federal authorities, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said local agencies don't have any intelligence that tensions from the Waco brawl will continue at the New Mexico rally.
"I feel pretty confident we are doing everything we can to make sure we will have a safe event," Hogrefe said. "But we are still preparing for the worst."
Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun said town officials aren't doing anything different than previous gatherings other than paying closer attention. "We've been doing this event for 33 years and will do exactly what we've always done," she said.
Smith said 50 officers from different agencies will be patrolling the area.
Hogrefe said the event will have a sizable contingency of New Mexico State Police officers along extra U.S. Forest Service patrols.
Law enforcement agencies across the country were preparing for similar Memorial Day motorcycle rallies, including events in Buckhorn, Missouri; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Oak Ridge, New Jersey.