Four suspects charged in 2021 carjacking-homicide - Albuquerque Journal

Four suspects charged in 2021 carjacking-homicide

Josiah Apodaca, left, and James Rodriguez (Source: MDC)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Police have charged four more suspects in a 2021 carjacking-turned-homicide in Southwest Albuquerque.

Josiah A. Apodaca, 19, alleged by an informant to be the shooter, is charged with murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and other crimes in the death of 24-year-old Elias Otero on Feb. 11, 2021.

Santos Veronica, 19, faces similar charges in the case, while Andre Avila, 20, is charged with retaliating against a witness and conspiracy, and James Rodriguez, 20, is charged with tampering with evidence in the case.

Apodaca and Rodriguez have been booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center and arrest warrants have been issued for Veronica and Avila.

Apodaca and Rodriguez’s attorneys did not immediately respond to calls for comment. It is unclear if Veronica and Avila have an attorney.

According to a motion filed in 2nd Judicial District Court by Apodaca’s attorney, Apodaca should not be held until his trial because he has no previous criminal record, works two jobs and currently lives with his mother.

Apodaca’s attorney also mentioned that the affidavit failed to establish reliability and basis of knowledge of the confidential witness who placed Apodaca as one of the shooters.

Police arrested Adrian Avila and Anna Dukes, both 18, over the past several months. Dukes pleaded guilty on Monday to two counts each of armed robbery and conspiracy and faces up to 15 years behind bars and probation in the case.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, Adrian Avila, Dukes, Veronica and Apodaca conspired together to rob a man on Feb. 10. Dukes allegedly lured the man over Snapchat to Alvarado Park, where Avila, Apodaca and Santos stole his car and money at gunpoint.

Later that night, according to police, Dukes lured Otero’s brother to the same park, where the three men stole his car, forced him into another car and drove him to Elias Otero’s home. Upon arrival, the group allegedly threatened to kill the brother unless Elias Otero gave them $1,000.

Elias Otero came out of the house with a gun and a confidential informant told detectives that Apodaca fatally shot him before the group fled. Police said Rodriguez helped the suspects get rid of the guns used in the crimes and Andre Avila repeatedly threatened to kill Dukes if she told anyone.

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