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Gunman surrenders

Posted: Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Courier staff writer

COSTILLA COUNTY— Gene Martinez, 70, San Luis, surrendered to police Monday, on a warrant that had been issued for his arrest, along with citations for prohibited use of a weapon, and harassment.

Early Friday, April 20, Costilla County Sheriff’s Department was called out to a dispute involving Martinez and Charlie Mestas, a member of the Costilla County Water Board over a dispute regarding water rights.

Allegedly Martinez’s turn to water his fields had been skipped. After arguing, Martinez pulled out a gun on Mestas at his 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 them with a handgun.

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 Charlie Mestas. 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 had said.

After obtaining warrants and coordinating efforts, the team deployed tear gas and proceeded to enter Martinez’s home. Martinez however, evaded arrest by fleeing the dwelling during the coordination process and had remained at large until Monday.

Espinoza previously 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.

Martinez has since posted a $25,000 bond.

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