Serving the High Plains

Local man sentenced to 10 years

Anthony Groomas, 29, found guilty of criminal sexual acts.

TUCUMCARI - A Tucumcari man will spend 10 years in prison after being sentenced Wednesday in the 10th Judicial District Court for charges of criminal sexual penetration involving two minors.

Anthony Groomas, 29, appeared before District Judge Albert J. Mitchell, who sentenced Groomas to 10 years behind bars based upon his convictions and results of his 60-day pre-sentencing evaluation in the Department of Corrections.

An investigation headed by Attorney General Hector Balderas' office led to Groomas' August 2017 arrest by NMAGO Special Agents. Officials said he sexually exploited, solicited and had sex with underage girls.

"Protecting New Mexican children is my office's highest priority," said Balderas. "Our special agents and prosecutors worked tirelessly to bring Groomas to justice. Today, there is one less sexual predator on the streets of New Mexico, and New Mexican children are safer."

Upon Groomas'' release he will be under sex offender probation for 5-20 years, parole for five years to life and lifetime sex offender registration.

"Whether you live in cities like Albuquerque or Las Cruces, or more rural areas like Quay County, parents must watch for signs of sexual predators soliciting their children and report it to authorities immediately," Balderas added.

On March 21, Groomas appeared before Mitchell and entered four guilty pleas to felony charges stemming from his arrest last August. Mitchell accepted the guilty plea and ordered Groomas sent to the state's Department of Corrections for a 60-day pre-sentencing evaluation.

Groomas' attorney Brett Phelps was not available for comment.

Following an investigation by the AG's office, Groomas was arrested at his residence in Tucumcari and charged with 23 felony counts connected to alleged criminal sexual penetration and criminal exploitation of girls ranging in age from 14 to 17.

Groomas was booked into the Quay County Detention Center on a $15,000 cash only bond.

James Hallinan, a spokesman for the attorney general, said the crimes occurred between May 2015 and February 2017, with tips coming from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Hallinan said through the course of the investigation social media conversations between Groomas and minors were reviewed, and interviews with those minors were conducted.

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