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State Police bust alleged chop shop in Los Lunas

Johnny Lopez (State Police)

Martin Jaramillo (State Police)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Two police pursuits and multiple abandoned vehicles in a Los Lunas neighborhood led officers to arrest three men suspected of working in a chop shop operation, according to New Mexico State Police.

State Police spokesman Dusty Francisco said Johnny Lopez, 32, and Martin Jaramillo, 36, have been charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle and aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer.

Celso Molina-Cornelio, 39, the owner of the home and alleged chop shop, was charged with receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle.

On Aug. 14, Francisco said, officers arrested Lopez after he fled a traffic stop in a stolen vehicle and drove it to a home at 37 Carmel in Los Lunas. Jaramillo was arrested in a separate chase, although Francisco did not give any details on that incident.

Celso Molina-Cornelio (State Police)

He said officers learned multiple stolen vehicles were going in and out of the home on Carmel. They found three stolen vehicles that had been abandoned near the residence.

Francisco said that on Aug. 23, police arrested Molina-Cornelio at the home after finding a disassembled stolen vehicle on the property.

“The stolen motor vehicle was missing the engine and transmission, and it had also been taken apart into seven different pieces,” he said.

In all, Francisco said, officers recovered six vehicles in Los Lunas that had been reported stolen from the Albuquerque area and Valencia County.

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