Tucumcari man arrested in Arkansas after nationwide manhunt

Niko Nathan

Nikko Nathan

By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor

A Tucumcari man with a record of violent crimes and running from the law has again been apprehended after allegedly committing two felonies in Tucumcari last September and hitting the road again.

Nikko Nathan, 24, of Tucumcari has been formally charged with aggravated battery and with possession of a firearm or destructive device as a felon after an incident Sept. 26 in Tucumcari, according to Tenth Judicial District Attorney Tim Rose. According to state statute, the battery charge is a third-degree felony that carries a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine not to exceed $5,000. The weapons possession charge is a fourth degree felony that carries a prison term of up to 18 months and fine up to $5,000, statute says.

Nathan has been incarcerated in the Quay County Detention Center since Dec. 3 in lieu of a $20,000 cash bond, Matt Montoya, an district attorney’s investigator, said. Nathan was arrested near Fayetteville, Ark., after a nationwide manhunt in connection with incidents in Amarillo, Texas and Fayetteville, Ark., in addition to the incident in Tucumcari.

Early Saturday, another Tucumcari resident, Cedar Chavarria, was arrested and charged with helping Nathan elude police, Montoya said. Chavarria is also being held at the QCDC. Chavarria was arrested at about 2 a.m. Saturday after police were tipped off on his location, Montoya said.

Chavarria stopped for police and surrendered without incident to Montoya, State Police Patrolman Isaac Vigil, and Tucumcari Police Dept. officers Dustin Lopez, Eric Padilla and Michael Ray.

While on the run after the Sept. 26 incident, Nathan was the “fugitive of the week” from Oct. 24 to Oct. 30 for New Mexico Crimestoppers.

The Amarillo incident occurred on Nov. 9 when Nathan and Chavarria narrowly escaped arrest for selling drugs to minors and related charges by fleeing a motel room during a police raid, Montoya said.

Two days later, Nathan was arrested in Arkansas after apparently leading police on a chase that ended when the car Nathan was driving had an accident, Montoya said. The chase began after Nathan had been stopped on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly in a sports bar. Nathan was supposed to wait for a breathalyzer test but drove away instead, Montoya said.

Arkansas authorities later extradited Nathan to Tucumcari, Montoya said.

In November 2009, Nathan pleaded no contest to an aggravated battery charge in connection with an October 2008 incident in which a victim received two gunshot wounds and a stab wound in the abdomen. A few days earlier, Nathan also apparently threatened a woman and her 10-year-old child when he showed them a gun under his shirt.

Earlier in that year, Nathan was injured in a shooting in an alley off South First Street in Tucumcari. Police said 13 shots were fired across south First Street.

In 2012, he pleaded no contest to a harassment charge.

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