Tucumcari teens face conspiracy to kill charges

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Three Tucumcari juveniles were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder on Sunday, Tucumcari Police Chief Larry Ham said.

Charges were filed against two 17-year-old boys and one 15-year-old boy after they were questioned at police headquarters following their arrests on other charges, Detective Jack Hendrickson said.

One 17-year-old suspect told officers that “some guy was selling drugs to his brother and he was going to stop it at any cost,” Hendrickson said.

The teens were using street lingo and had said to police they were going “to pop a cap” in the drug dealer, Hendrickson said.

The juveniles were transported on Sunday morning to the Curry County Juvenile Detention Center, Ham said. On Tuesday afternoon, the juveniles were still at the detention center and being held without bond, according to a correctional officer at the jail.

The Juvenile Probation Office in Tucumcari could not comment on the case because no paperwork on the juveniles had been filed, said Deborah Martinez, a spokeswoman for the probation office. Also, because no paperwork had been filed with the 10th Judicial District Court in Quay County, it was not known when the three juveniles would be arraigned, she said.

Tucumcari police would not release copies of officers’ statements because they said the investigation was still under way.

Prior to their arrest for conspiracy to commit murder, one of the 17 year olds had been arrested for aggravated assault on a peace officer, negligent use of a firearm, minor in possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana; the other 17 year old was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and marijuana and resisting arrest; and the 15-year-old for minor in possession of an illegal substance not identified by police, according to police reports.

The juveniles’ initial arrest was prompted by a routine check by Deputy Police Chief Lt. Ron Haley and Sgt. Patricia Lopez who observed them on the grounds of the Sonic Drive-In at 602 West Tucumcari Blvd., police reports show. The officers became suspicious because it was late in the evening and the threesome was close to the Tucumcari High School, Hendrickson said.

After talking with the juveniles to learn why they were out so late, Lopez and Haley received consent from two of the juveniles to perform a pat-down search, Hendrickson said. One was found to have narcotics and the other to be a minor in possession.

During the search, the third juvenile began to move away from the group, said Hendrickson. Haley ordered him to come back, but he refused. Haley grabbed his arm to bring back toward the group, Hendrickson said. At that time, Officer Dennis Garcia arrived at the scene. Garcia and Haley noticed the juvenile was trying to reach under his jacket and realized that he had a weapon, Hendrickson said.

The gun confiscated by the officers from the juvenile was a 9mm semi-autmatic handgun, said Hendrickson.
It is not known at this time how the juvenile came to possess the weapon, Hendrickson said.

While Haley and Garcia were trying to disarm the juvenile, one of the other juveniles began to advance toward the two officers and was maced by another officer to prevent any further complications, Hendrickson said.

The juveniles were then taken to the police department and questioned, Hendrickson said.

The boys’ parents names were not released by police and could not be reached for comment.