LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez said on Thursday that prosecution could be, “likely,” in the state’s current criminal investigation into sexual assault allegations against three former New Mexico State University basketball players.

No charges have been yet filed and the investigation is currently ongoing. The Attorney General’s office has sealed warrants related to the case.

“We are proceeding with our investigation regarding NMSU and currently have search warrants under seal to preserve the integrity of the investigation,” the Attorney General’s office said in a statement to KTSM. A spokesperson for the A.G.’s office told KTSM on Thursday that there is still no timeline for the investigation to be completed, but that they plan to move quickly.

NMSU has said multiple times that it intends to fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation.

Torrez told KRQE, KTSM’s affiliate in Albuquerque that they have already interviewed multiple victims in the case and that the investigation could lead to more victims being revealed. He said that as soon as they’re done with the criminal investigation, they’ll also be looking into NMSU’s response to the situation as a whole.

“We’re going to move very quickly and we’re going to put a lot of resources into this investigation and into the likely prosecution of those involved in the conduct,” Torrez said. “It’s still in the early phase of our criminal investigation and we will certainly let the public know because there is a lot of public interest and anxiety. We are going to move as quickly and as diligently as we can with the criminal investigation and then pivot pretty quickly into the institutional response.”

The case was referred by the Dona Ana District Attorney’s office to the Attorney General on April 13 for a criminal investigation. Deputy Attorney General John Duran will be one of the lead prosecutors in the case, if criminal charges are indeed brought by the state.

Duran spoke with KTSM about the ongoing investigation two weeks ago, saying it was too early to tell if criminal charges would indeed eventually be filed.

“We’re looking for case viability and what that means is, is there enough evidence to convict a person?” Duran said. “It starts with the probable cause determination but really what we’re looking at is to make sure that we have a really strong case.”

Former NMSU player Deuce Benjamin, his father William Benjamin Sr. and former NMSU player Shakiru Odunewu filed a lawsuit against the NMSU Board of Regents; former head coach Greg Heiar and former associate head coach Dominique Taylor; and former NMSU players Kim Aiken Jr., Doctor Bradley and Deshawndre Washington on April 19.

The lawsuit makes multiple allegations of sexual assault, harassment and hazing against the three players that occurred from July of 2022 until February of 2023. It also alleges that Heiar and Taylor were made aware of the allegations as early as Nov. 12, 2022, and did nothing to stop them from taking place and did not report them to the proper authorities.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit spoke about the alleged abuse for the first time on May 3 at a press conference in Las Cruces. None of the defendants have responded to requests for comment from KTSM.

Additionally, at New Mexico State’s scheduled Board of Regents meeting on Thursday, multiple members of the community including NMSU athletics boosters spoke out in support of athletic director Mario Moccia and a new, five-year contract he signed in April.

Moccia’s new contract had come under scrutiny by NMSU’s Faculty Senate, which last week penned a letter to school officials and the Regents in protest of the contract.

The Faculty Senate presented its letter to the Board on Thursday, before public comment was then allowed. At that time, boosters, fans and other community members spoke for over 20 minutes in support of Moccia as a whole, including his new contract.

Marci Dickerson (Las Cruces entrepreneur/NMSU booster): “Rules are in place, procedures and policies are in place, and those procedures and policies are not dictated by the athletic director, but by the university leadership and those have to be followed. I believe that Mario [Moccia] followed those and did exactly, you know, whether we like how this went down or not, I think that we’ve all learned from some things, but I think Mario [Moccia] certainly led the ship through chaos very, very well.”

Russell Allen (Las Cruces business owner/NMSU booster): “It’s tough being on top, being the leader. You’re responsible for all those things that happened underneath you. However, it’s how you deal with them after the fact because you can’t know every aspect that’s happening down below. But when you find out, what are your actions that you do? And I believe that Mario [Moccia] has taken those actions, necessary actions when appropriate.” 

Royal Jones (Las Cruces business owner/NMSU booster): This year, yes, we had some bad notoriety, but you can’t blame the one guy. I mean, how many people has he hired? We’ve hired great people and we have to keep them here.”