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Courts and Crime

Montezuma-Cortez team arrests two men in recent ‘shooting events’

In a photo provided by the Narcotics Investigation team, an AK47 and Sig Sauer handgun were recovered in the vehicle apprehended by law enforcement on March 28. (Courtesy photo)
Loaded rifle, handgun seized after police pursuit

On Thursday, March 28, the Montezuma-Cortez Narcotics Investigation Team, Colorado Bureau of Investigations and Bureau of Indian Affairs led a criminal enforcement operation in Montezuma County, leading to the arrest of two men thought to be connected to recent shootings.

The vehicle containing the two, along with three other occupants, was spotted in Cortez. Investigators and detectives working on the case requested the aid of the Cortez Police Department, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, Dolores County Sheriff’s Office and Mancos Marshall’s Office to apprehend the suspects, according to a Facebook post attributed to the Montezuma/Cortez Narcotics Investigation team.

When officers attempted to contact the vehicle through a traffic stop, the vehicle fled, striking another vehicle as it sped away.

“A high-speed pursuit was initiated by the suspects through the city of Cortez, through Montezuma County and into Dolores County,” the team said.

Once law enforcement officers stopped the vehicle, they arrested one occupant on a U.S. Marshall’s warrant and the other on suspicion of various felony charges.

“We had been informed of a vehicle and suspects in this case in a white BMW that was predicted to have been involved in not just one, but two shooting incidents,” Detective Sgt. Victor Galarza told The Journal.

Galarza would not say when or where the “shooting events” occurred or whether they resulted in injury or death.

While Galarza said he could not share much information because of the ongoing investigation, he said the two were from Montezuma County.

After a search warrant was obtained Monday, investigators found an AK47 with four magazines loaded with about 135 7.62mm caliber rounds, a 9 mm Sig Sauer semi-automatic handgun with three magazines loaded with about 60 rounds, a rifle-rated ballistic hard-plate vest and other evidence that pointed to the distribution of illegal narcotics.

“An AK47 fires a round that is devastating,” Galarza said. “It can penetrate body armor.”

Galarza said the incident was an unfortunate product of the “rise of violent crime that is occurring in Montezuma County.”

The suspects cooperated in their arrest once their vehicle was successfully stopped by law enforcement.