Earlier this week, police announced that the nearly six-month investigation had resulted in 180 charges. Charges were filed against 14 suspects who were accused in a variety of thefts and larcenies throughout the county, according to their criminal complaints. As of Thursday, eight of the suspects had been arrested and six more were still wanted.
But it was the arrest in November of Travis “Shine” Brewton made a big difference in the investigation, according to Detective Andrew Gilbert.
Court documents show 53 charges were filed against Brewton on Monday in Aztec Magistrate Court. He has been accused of being involved in several burglaries and larcenies at local businesses, homes and government agencies, according to court documents.
He remains incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on a $800,000 cash-only bond.
Police arrested Brewton on Nov. 25 for allegedly stealing mechanic tools worth nearly $27,000 and two vehicles worth about $75,000 from Halo Services Inc. in Bloomfield earlier that month.
Aaron Brown — another suspect in custody in connection to the racketeering ring — was also charged in that incident.
Gilbert said police interviews with Brewton provided law enforcement a “full view” into the scale of the operation.
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In an interview with police on Nov. 30, Brewton admitted to being involved in several burglaries, according to his arrest warrant affidavit.
Brewton said he and another man, Brandon Yates, stole more the $160,000 in taxidermy mounts from an Aztec home on Sept. 25, according to court documents. The stolen items included a full body mount of a male lion valued at $50,000, three head mounts valued at $30,000 each and a head mount of a water buck valued at $20,000, court documents state.
Yates is still wanted by police on an outstanding warrant, according to court records.
Brewton was also allegedly involved in the thefts of four ATMS and the attempted thefts of two more between July and November 2016. In two of the ATM thefts, Brewton and accomplices are accused of stealing $10,160 and $10,500 from the machines, according to court documents.
Brewton also faces charges in connection to five burglaries at four county solid waste stations in Blanco, Kirtland, Upper Fruitland and Farmington between April and June 2016, according to his affidavit.
Several of the other suspects charged in connection to the racketeering ring have been accused of stealing firearms, ammunition, knives, jewelry and vehicles.
Zachary Goar has been charged with 29 felonies, and Marcos Herrera is facing 24 felony charges, according to court records. Both are being held at the county jail.
Goar faces 17 firearm larceny charges for allegedly stealing weapons, including two AK-47s, on Jan. 25, 2016, from a home, along with Brewton, according to court documents.
He has also been charged for allegedly committing aggravated burglary at a home with Brewton and stealing coins, jewelry, ammunition and a white Chevrolet 1500 single-cab pickup truck, according to court documents.
Herrera has been accused of being involved in an ATM theft on July 3 at an Aztec gas station with Brewton, according to court documents. He has also been charged in several home burglaries.
A set of charges stem from an alleged aggravated burglary he committed with Brewton and Yates on Sept. 6, 2016. The trio is accused of stealing firearms, ammunition, knives, jewelry, change, iPods, tools, a safe, a box of eyeglass frames and a 2015 Dodge Caravan, according to court documents.
Herrera is also accused of stealing a 50-caliber rifle on Oct. 1, according to court records.
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Brewton, Brown and Jerry Sharski have also been accused of stealing phones, helicopters and drones from Radio Shack at 2010 E. Main St., according to court documents.
Several of the suspects arrested in connection the criminal ring will have court appearances next week.
Preliminary hearings will take place Thursday for Brewton, Brown, Goar, Daniel Tarango and Troy Pope, according to court records. The first appearance for Estella Tarango is scheduled for Wednesday.
Reporter Noel Lynn Smith contributed to the story.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.
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