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Costilla County fugitive still at large

Posted: Tuesday, Apr 24th, 2012

Courier staff writer

COSTILLA COUNTY — Early Friday, April 20, Costilla County Sheriff’s Department were called out to a dispute involving a gun at a residence in the Chama area.

Deputy Cruz Soto and Selena Martinez were the first officers to arrive at the scene on County Road K.5. The two officers approached the suspect, who then threatened with a hand gun. Sergeant Andrew Espinoza of the Costilla County Sheriff’s Department said the two acted valiantly to diffuse the situation without resorting to deadly force.

“Mr. Gene Martinez pulled out a gun on Mr. ___Mestas, a member of the Costilla County Water Board over a dispute regarding his water rights. Martinez was not apprehended after an eight hour stand off involving the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office, the Blanca Police Department, the San Luis Police Department, the Alamosa SWAT, and the Pueblo SWAT,” Espinoza said.

After obtaining warrants and coordinating efforts, the team deployed tear gas and proceeded to enter the dwelling. Espinoza commented that it was a well organized, cooperative effort and he was pleased to know that the county had the support of so many other organizations.

A $25,000 warrant for felony menacing has been issued for Martinez, along with citations for prohibited use of a weapon, and harassment.

Authorities are still searching for Martinez, who evaded arrest by fleeing the dwelling during the coordination process. Authorities consider him to be armed and dangerous. The police are asking for anyone with information as to his whereabouts contact Crime Stoppers at 719-589-4111.

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