Man seen in recent campaign ads is arrested - Albuquerque Journal

Man seen in recent campaign ads is arrested

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Omar Manzanilla (MDC)

Bernalillo County deputies have arrested a fugitive – a man highlighted in an attack ad during the governor’s race – finding him in the South Valley, allegedly with fentanyl, a stolen gun and a stolen truck.

Omar Manzanilla, 36, was taken into custody Monday and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on warrants, along with new charges of auto theft, firearm theft, being a felon in possession of a gun, drug possession, warrants and other charges.

It is unclear if he has an attorney.

Campaign ads supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti claimed that Manzanilla’s most recent release from prison came under Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s pandemic order before he went on the run. However, Manzanilla’s last flight from justice happened more than a year after he was released under the executive order, and had been re-arrested and served his sentence.

Manzanilla was released under the executive order in June 2020, two days before his already scheduled release date, according to court records. He was then arrested in Valencia County and released in July 2021 – this time not under the executive order.

A warrant was issued for Manzanilla’s arrest when he violated probation and, over a year later, he was named in federal search warrants as one of numerous targets in a gang-related investigation that netted millions in cash and fentanyl pills, along with 142 pounds of meth and dozens of guns.

Five people were arrested in that case, but Manzanilla was not one of them and he has not been charged, according to federal court records.

On Monday, a deputy spotted a white SUV speeding near Isleta and Perry SW around 10:30 p.m., according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court. The deputy followed the truck as the driver ran red lights and opened the door while headed into oncoming traffic.

Deputies said Manzanilla got out and began walking alongside the road as the truck kept rolling down the street. Deputies detained Manzanilla and found a fentanyl pill, burnt foil and a 9mm bullet in his pockets.

The truck had been reported stolen earlier in the day and deputies found a 9mm pistol on the sidewalk near where Manzanilla had opened the driver’s door, according to court records. The gun had damage “consistent with being thrown onto the ground,” and had been reported stolen.

Manzanilla refused to speak with deputies.

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