ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The wife of an Albuquerque police officer has been arrested on charges that she bought handguns for a convicted drug dealer and accused murderer who used one of the weapons to shoot at police during a SWAT standoff last month, the Journal has learned.
Elizabeth P. Taylor, 30, allegedly purchased at least four handguns for 32-year-old Christopher Blattner, aka Chris Blatiner, who used at least one of them to fire shots at officers who were trying to arrest him on a warrant at his Albuquerque home on Aug. 22.
None of the officers was struck, and after a nine-hour standoff, they arrested Blattner on a warrant related to his mistaken early release from prison. On the same day, Blattner was indicted on a 2007 case in which he allegedly killed 36-year-old George Orozco and dumped his body near the Route 66 Casino.
And after police took Blattner into custody, they also questioned him in the disappearance of 62-year-old Kathy Paquin – an Albuquerque woman whose brother had reported her missing on Aug. 15.
Police believe Paquin may be in danger and are asking the public’s help in locating her.
Taylor’s husband, officer David M. Taylor, was placed on leave late last month, then moved to desk duty Thursday while APD criminal investigators try to sort out whether he “knew or should’ve known about his wife’s (alleged) activities,” Police Chief Ray Schultz said in an interview.
Neither Taylor could be reached for comment.
APD detectives and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the purchase of several guns taken from Blattner’s home to Elizabeth Taylor, the Journal has learned.
And, on Aug. 25, an APD missing persons detective went to the Taylors’ home in southwest Albuquerque to arrest Elizabeth Taylor.
Schultz said he didn’t know whether David Taylor, who has been with APD for about eight years ago, was at the home at the time.
David Taylor has given a statement to detectives from the APD Special Investigations Division, who are conducting a criminal inquiry into what he knew about his wife’s alleged crimes, Deputy Police Chief Paul Feist said Thursday.
Based on the detectives’ investigation, Feist said, David Taylor was moved from paid leave to desk duty on Thursday. Once the criminal investigation is complete, he said, an Internal Affairs investigation will begin to determine whether David Taylor violated any APD policies.
Straw buyer accusations
At the request of APD detectives, the criminal complaint against Elizabeth Taylor was sealed by Metropolitan Court Judge Cristina Jaramillo “to preserve the integrity of the investigation,” according to a court spokeswoman.
The complaint remained sealed Thursday.
Elizabeth Taylor was charged with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of methamphetamine possession and one count of conspiracy to commit a fourth-degree felony, according to online court and jail records.
Elizabeth Taylor does not appear to be a convicted felon. The Journal has learned that the firearm possession charge is based on the allegation that she acted as a straw buyer for Blattner, who is a convicted felon.
Elizabeth Taylor posted a $5,000 bond on Aug. 28 and was released from the Metropolitan Detention Center that day. A copy of her booking sheet obtained by the Journal shows Brittany Blattner as a “co-defendant,” although she is not charged in the case.
When Elizabeth Taylor was booked into the West Side jail, authorities asked to have her and Brittany Blattner – Christopher Blattner’s wife – listed as “security risks” on each other’s booking sheets so they could be placed in separate pods.
Brittany Blattner was inside the home when police arrived to arrest Christopher Blattner on Aug. 22. She was charged with violating probation from a previous marijuana trafficking charge.
Christopher Blattner remained in custody Thursday at the Los Lunas Correctional Facility.
The fact that Blattner was out of custody last month was the result of two major errors on the part of the criminal justice system.
He was sentenced in September 2007 to nine years in prison for heroin possession with the intent to distribute, but a judge – over objections from prosecutors – allowed Blattner time to get his affairs in order before reporting to prison
Blattner never showed up to start his sentence in 2007, and apparently no one noticed he was an absconder, even during subsequent contacts with law enforcement.
In 2009, Blattner was sentenced to 12 years in prison for trafficking with the intent to distribute methamphetamines. However, the 2009 sentence order never made it to the New Mexico Department of Corrections.
So, when Blattner went to prison in 2009, Corrections Department employees had only the 2007 sentence on file, and he was released with good time in February 2012. Had both cases been factored into his sentence, Blattner would not have been released until September 2015.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal