By TOMMY GATES | SANTA FE, N.M. A week after Tommy Gates Jr. shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, his wife of more than 10 years, and his two children, authorities say he’s still the mastermind behind a bizarre conspiracy that included a massive drug ring, a $10 million mansion and an extensive network of associates.
A search warrant was obtained Wednesday by Santa Fe police, who are searching for the man who authorities believe was Gates’ “key” in the drug ring.
Gates, 55, has been jailed since Jan. 12 on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a charge that was upgraded to first-degree murder on Wednesday after prosecutors showed jurors a video of the assault.
Authorities say Gates, of Santa Fe, California, was the leader of a ring of drug dealers that included former associates of Gates’ brother, Tommy, and one other person.
Authorities allege Gates and Tommy Gates engaged in an elaborate conspiracy involving cocaine and marijuana, including a drug ring that included drug dealers, former associates and a former employee of the home.
Prosecutors also charged Gates with extortion, conspiracy to commit money laundering, drug trafficking and firearms violations.
Authorities said the conspiracy also involved the deaths of at least one woman.
The sheriff’s office and the FBI are leading the investigation.
A court date has not been set.
Gates was a frequent guest on the daytime talk show “The Tom Gates Show” from 1998 to 2006, and he also appeared on “The Howard Stern Show,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
He also appeared in commercials for a variety of companies, including Burger King, Nike and Coca-Cola.
He and his wife, Mary Ann, divorced in 2011.