Tucumcari Police officer resigns

A Tucumcari police officer facing criminal criminal charges resigned last week.

Pete Vargas, 32, a 3 1/2-year veteran of the police department, tendered his resignation effective April 19, according to Tucumcari Police Chief Jason Braziel.

Braziel said he wouldn't comment on the reason for Vargas' resignation.

Vargas surrendered Feb. 27 to state police after an incident the day before at his girlfirend's residence. He is charged with breaking and entering and criminal damage to property.

Deputy Police Chief Pete Rivera said Vargas was allowed to return to the department shortly after his arrest though he was limited to working in the office and was not allowed to patrol or answer calls.

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

A trial date has not been set.

Vargas

"Vargas has testified before me many times in court," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said since Vargas has testified on before him on behalf of the state it may appear his decision was to soft or extreme.

"It is in the best interest of the proceeding that I recuse myself," Mitchell said.

Vargas could not be reached for comment.

According to state police:

• 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 police 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 have had a continuing intimate relationship.

  • Quintana said Vargas had broken into her house, damaging her front door.

• Two juvenile witnesses identified Vargas as the person who kicked in the door.

  • A warrant was issued for Vargas' arrest on Sunday for one count of breaking and entering, (a fourth-degree felony) and criminal damage to property (misdemeanor).

Vargas was arrested on Feb. 27 and released on a $10,000 appearance bond.

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