ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Colo. grand jury indictment includes 5 New Mexicans.
A two-year investigation into a string of auto thefts in the Four Corners region has culminated in a Colorado grand jury indictment of 20 people, including five New Mexico residents, the Farmington Daily Times reported today on its Web site.
San Juan County sheriff’s investigators, Farmington police and Region II Narcotics Task Force agents, along with Colorado law enforcement agencies, conducted a two-year investigation into the theft of more than 20 vehicles that were stolen from both Colorado and New Mexico, the Daily Times reported.
Authorities believe the vehicles were stolen, transferred across state lines to avoid being caught, then sold or bartered for methamphetamine, according to the Daily Times.
San Juan County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tyler Truby told the paper that the alleged ring exchanged vehicles for drugs, then sold the narcotics.
A "primary player" among those indicted, Truby told the Daily Times, was 58-year-old David Felix Torrez, of Waterflow, a former bail bondsman in San Juan County.
Several stolen vehicles, trailers, heavy equipment and methamphetamine were found when search warrants were executed on Torrez’s property, authorities told the paper.
Among those charged in connection with alleged car thefts in New Mexico were JayDee Russell, 38, Bloomfield; Byron Fish, 35, of Cortez, Colo.; Gary Pierce, 49, hometown not given; Jason Bizzell, 34, of Kirtland; and Raymond Rascon, 49, of Chama, investigators told the Daily Times.
Another New Mexican named in the indictment, which was handed up by a LaPlata County (Colo.) grand jury, was Lynda Russell, 57, of Bloomfield.
The 20 suspects were charged with various crimes, ranging from racketeering in violation of Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act, aggravated motor vehicle theft, intimidating a witness, tampering with a witness, distribution of methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, according to a news release from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Conviction on the organized crime charges could net up to 48 years in prison, according to the release.
The cases will be tried in LaPlata County District Court, the Daily Times reported.