4 associates of suspect in Vigil slaying face federal charges - Albuquerque Journal

4 associates of suspect in Vigil slaying face federal charges

APD crime scene investigators examine a tire as they collect evidence after Jacqueline Vigil was shot and killed in the driveway of her West Side home in November.(Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

In the minutes after Jacqueline Vigil was shot at close range in her driveway before dawn last November, her assailants sped away from her two-story West Side Albuquerque home so fast they blew a tire on their Jeep Cherokee.

Just around the corner in the darkness – while her husband, paramedics, police and others responded to the crime scene – the alleged shooter and an accomplice in the stranded Jeep realized they had no spare tire.

Luis Talamantes

So they managed to steal a tire from a parked vehicle in the neighborhood, change out the flat, and make their getaway without ever getting caught, according to newly filed criminal complaints.

Only the telltale blown tire remained for Albuquerque police to analyze hours later, and the alleged shooter, Luis Talamantes, feared they would find his fingerprints on it, according to details alleged in federal criminal complaints filed this week in Albuquerque’s U.S. District Court.

To date, neither the Albuquerque Police Department nor federal agents have filed criminal charges in the homicide.

But Talamantes’ two sisters, a nephew and an alleged criminal gang associate are now facing an array of federal charges related to immigration crimes, firearms and drugs, according to criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque. All are being held in federal custody.

Meanwhile, Talamantes, 33, a Mexican national, is awaiting sentencing on illegal re-entry charges in federal court in San Antonio, Texas. He’s been detained since January when Albuquerque police notified ICE in Texas of his suspected involvement in the Vigil homicide. His involvement is alleged in government sentencing documents filed earlier this week in the immigration case.

The scope of the recent federal investigation into Vigil’s death became clearer on Thursday with the filing of the related criminal complaints in Albuquerque.

One complaint states that beginning last month, the Albuquerque FBI violent crimes task force partnered with APD’s homicide unit and the office of Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez to investigate Vigil’s slaying and several “specific violent crimes,” including “a string of firearm-related crimes that occurred in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in and around the time of the homicide.”

The investigation “focuses on firearm-related crimes perpetrated by a group of repeat offenders who are affiliated with a violent southeast Albuquerque gang” known as the Juaritos Maravilla, another complaint states.

Those charged were Talamantes’ sisters, Elizabeth Zamora and Veronica Villela-Romero; both are charged with illegal re-entry. Zamora is also charged with drug and firearms offenses.

Villela-Romero is also accused by Bernalillo County sheriff’s investigators of intimidating a witness in Vigil’s homicide.

Zamora’s son, Ricardo Barron Jr., is charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and knowingly leasing, renting, using or maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing or using any controlled substance.

The fourth defendant, Eduardo Aguilar, aka “Lalo,” is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Tire blowout slows getaway

In the criminal complaints against the four, investigators provided additional details about events before and after Vigil was killed, as she sat in her 2006 Cadillac intending to drive to the gym Nov. 19, 2019.

One criminal complaint alleges that Talamantes and another subject, who had earlier attempted to burglarize or steal a Cadillac in a nearby neighborhood, drove up to the Vigil home in the Las Lomitas neighborhood with their Jeep blocking her car from leaving.

“Talamantes approached the driver’s side door and likely tried to open the car door. Because the vehicle was in reverse, the doors were locked and Talamantes could not open the door. For reasons unknown, Talamantes stood just outside J.V.’s driver side window, leveled his pistol at her head, and pulled the trigger. J.V. was struck in the head and succumbed to her wounds,” the complaint states. Her husband, Sam B. Vigil, ran out as the Jeep pulled away. He called 911 after finding his wife slumped over in the driver’s seat.

Meanwhile, “Unbeknownst to Vigil’s husband, or first responders, Luis Talamantes and his associate had a tire blowout as they fled the scene and became disabled a short distance away. Talamantes and his associate stole a tire from a nearby parked vehicle, placed it on Talamantes’ vehicle, and fled the scene,” the complaint states.

Days later, Zamora, who has been deported from the United States to Mexico twice since 2007, is alleged to have helped her brother, Talamantes, flee to San Antonio, Texas, after the fatal shooting. They traveled with another woman. She denied doing so in a recent interview with federal investigators.

But last year, with APD seeking the public’s help in locating the Jeep, Zamora retained an attorney in Albuquerque to contact the APD about turning over the SUV. But before doing so the family had the vehicle cleaned and disinfected to try to remove any evidence of the crime, the affidavit states.

Nevertheless, the APD found bullet casings inside and outside the Jeep that are now entered into evidence in the homicide investigation.

Zamora’s criminal complaint filed this week states that Talamantes was deported to Mexico for the third time in early September 2019, but returned “a few days later” to live with his sisters in Albuquerque.

On Oct. 13, 2019, he and fellow gang member Aguilar are accused of chasing an unidentified man in the Jeep Cherokee after an altercation at an Albuquerque apartment complex.

Aguilar or Talamantes used a pistol to fire several gunshots at the man during the chase, a federal criminal complaint alleges. APD officers who responded recovered a .40 caliber casing that later matched another .40 caliber casing found inside the Jeep Cherokee authorities believe was used in the Vigil homicide.

“Aguilar has not been ruled out as a suspect in that homicide,” states a federal criminal complaint filed Monday. However, the complaint adds that the other gang member involved in the chase, later identified as Talamantes, “is the primary suspect.”

Meanwhile, federal and county sheriff’s investigators contend a witness to the homicide was threatened and assaulted by Villela-Romero in July.

“The witness and his/her young children were injured when (she) ran them off the roadway in Albuquerque. The witness’s vehicle was also damaged,” states the complaint, which adds that the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office investigated and subsequently filed felony charges against Villela-Romero that included aggravated battery, child abuse and criminal damage to property.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » 4 associates of suspect in Vigil slaying face federal charges


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
NMSU to hire outside firm to probe shooting involving ...
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico State University said Tuesday ... New Mexico State University said Tuesday the school would hire an external, third-party investigator to review the fatal shooting involving an NMSU basketball player ...
2
NM adds anxiety disorder as medical cannabis qualifying condition
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico will add anxiety disorder ... New Mexico will add anxiety disorder as a qualifying condition to participate in its medical cannabis program, after the state's top health official approved ...
3
Services announced for Los Ranchos judge Diane Albert
ABQnews Seeker
Services for Diane Albert, 65, late ... Services for Diane Albert, 65, late municipal judge for the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, ...
4
Missing girl found; man charged with assaulting officer while ...
ABQnews Seeker
A man allegedly lost his temper ... A man allegedly lost his temper and nearly attacked an officer Monday night as Albuquerque police searched the city for his missing five-year-old. The ...
5
Albuquerque City Council approves commission to focus on domestic ...
ABQnews Seeker
In an effort to improve interventions, ... In an effort to improve interventions, services and public understanding, Albuquerque is launching the Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. The city council ...
6
Volunteers needed for vital CASA program
ABQnews Seeker
Goal is 'to have 100% case ... Goal is 'to have 100% case coverage,' says executive director of CASA Partners 4NMKids
7
City council says yes to noise cameras
ABQnews Seeker
and listening — too. The city ... and listening — too. The city council on Monday approved a pilot program aimed at detecting loud vehicles through the use of special cameras. ...
8
Local nonprofit Locker#505 helps 116 Albuquerque students shop for ...
ABQnews Seeker
Nonprofit Locker505 provides clothing for more ... Nonprofit Locker505 provides clothing for more than 12,000 students through community donations
9
Albuquerque City Council votes to strike safe outdoor space ...
ABQnews Seeker
The ongoing debate over safe outdoor ... The ongoing debate over safe outdoor spaces in Albuquerque continued Monday without any sign that either side is changing its mind. The City Council ...