Tucumcari officer resigns

A Tucumcari police officer has resigned in wake of charges of breaking and entering and criminal damage to property filed in the Tenth Judicial District Court.

Pete Vargas, 32, a three-and-a-half-year veteran of the police department, tendered his resignation effective April 19, Chief Jason Braziel said. He had been on administrative duty following his Feb. 27 arrest.

Vargas had been on administrative duty at the department following his arrest at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Quay County Magistrate Court.

Vargas was processed at the State Police Office and released on Feb. 27 on a $10,000 appearance bond. At that time Braziel said Vargas was using his vacation time until the department decided on what action to take.

Deputy Police Chief Pete Rivera said Vargas was limited to working in the office and was not allowed to patrol or answer calls.

Tenth Judicial District Judge Albert J. Mitchell Jr., has recused himself from the hearing on April 4, and an order binding the trial over from Quay County Magistrate Court was issued on April 10.

A trial date has not been set.

Attempts to contact Vargas have been unsuccessful.

According to State Police Lt. Lance Bateman:

  • At 3:50 a.m. Feb. 26 state police were dispatched to 1805 S. Sixth St. in Tucumcari in reference to a male subject that had broken into a residence.
  • A Tucumcari officer was already on scene and had requested state police investigate the incident upon learning the subject in question was an off-duty Tucumcari Police officer.
  • Vargas and the owner of the residence, Roseann Quintana, had a continuing intimate relationship.

According to a affidavit by State Police Officer Mark Jackson:

  • At approximately 3:50 a.m. he was notified by state police dispatch of an incident at 1805 S. Sixth St. in Tucumcari.
  • On arrival at 4:20 a.m., he met with Tucumcari police officer Clay Cullison, who told him he was patrolling the area and at 3:10 a.m., he observed Vargas driving by the residence in question and stopped to speak with him (Vargas).
  • Cullison said Vargas' demeanor was very agitated, and avoided answering questions.
  • Cullison said at 3:15 a.m. he observed Quintana walking on 1700 block of South Sixth Street. Cullison said he asked Quintana if she and Vargas had been fighting. Cullison said Quintana told him that she was OK.
  • Cullison said at 3:25 a.m. he was dispatched to 1805 S. Sixth St. for a call of breaking and entering. Quintana told him Vargas had broken into her house, damaging her front door. Cullison contacted State Police.

Jackson said he spoke with two juvenile witnesses at 8:10 a.m., one of which identified Vargas as the person who kicked in the door.

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