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Witnesses: Drug deal led to murder

James Garcia

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Witnesses have told police that the alleged killer of 20-year-old Daniel Gisler of Santa Fe told them the fatal shooting took place during a drug deal last month, before the shooter dumped Gisler’s body in an open field.

James Garcia, 26, is charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the fatal shooting of Gisler, which took place around Nov. 19.

Gisler’s body was discovered in a field near Richards Avenue and Mission Bend Road on Dec. 6. The Santa Fe District Attorney’s Office has filed a motion seeking to have Garcia held in jail until his trial.

According to the motion, two witnesses told detectives from the Santa Fe Police Department that Garcia told them he shot Gisler during a drug deal. Both witnesses said Garcia had a gold chain that they knew belonged to Gisler. One of them said Garcia was trying to sell the chain.

One witness also told police that Garcia and Gisler met in a car to exchange Xanax and that Garcia shot Gisler three times while they were in the car.

“Mr. Garcia told the person he had shot Daniel Gisler because he believed he was going to rob him of his Xanax without payment,” the motion says.

The second witness said Garcia also told him that he thought Gisler was reaching for a gun when he shot him, the motion says. Garcia told the person that he buried the body on his grandmother’s property on Calle Viejo. The witness also said Garcia had a lanyard that had Gisler’s car keys on it.

The night of Dec. 5, police executed search warrants at homes on Calle Anna Jean, west of Santa Fe High School, and Pueblo Pintado and Calle Viejo, in south Santa Fe. Around 11:45 a.m. Dec. 6, a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office K-9 team found Gisler’s body in the open field near Richards Avenue and Mission Bend Road, not far from Calle Viejo and north of where Richards passes under Interstate 25, the motion says. Gisler’s Toyota Camry was nearby.

Viktor Gisler, Daniel Gisler’s father, previously told the Journal that his son’s body was found under a tarp. The son disappeared soon after trying to call relatives, Gisler said.

Garcia and 27-year-old Mercady Montoya were arrested in Albuquerque on Dec. 7 after a chase.

The detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Gisler was reported missing Nov. 19, the pretrial detention motion says. SFPD sent out a missing person alert on Dec. 4 because the department believed Gisler was endangered.

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