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GPD catches two car thieves

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Benjamin Theodor Gonzales was arrested May 8 on a felony charge of possession of stolen vehicle and seven misdemeanor charges.

Lt. Billy Padavich praised the Gallup Police Department Drug and Narcotics Task Force and Detective Division for the arrest.

“Last night, he ran into one of our undercover units,” Padavich said. “He was in a stolen vehicle.”

Gonzales is a criminal familiar to the police department and the judicial system.

Narcotics agents were conducting surveillance about 10 pm near Lewann Drive and Alto Place. A known drug user and car thief identified as Gonzales was observed.

The suspect was driving a blue Kia Optima with black wheels. Police received a tip the vehicle was stolen and the agents attempted to perform a traffic stop.

Instead, Gonzales evaded officers by colliding into a police unit before driving erratically through a residential neighborhood.

Shortly before midnight, police received an anonymous call about a suspicious individual lying underneath an RV trailer. Officers discovered Gonzales trying to hide and placed him under arrest.

He was in possession of tools typically used for burglary. The stolen vehicle was recovered and was reportedly stolen out of Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, on May 5, narcotics task force agents made another arrest, this time Jennifer Sanchez for possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of methamphetamine, including drug paraphernalia.

Agents conducting surveillance at Red Hill Mobile Home Park observed Sanchez in a white Kia Sorento.

The license plate was called into Metro Dispatch and officers were advised that the vehicle was stolen out of Albuquerque. Officers were also informed Sanchez was wanted on an outstanding warrant.

During her arrest, Sanchez denied owning a silver colored purse on the front seat.

The purse contained a plastic baggie containing a glass shard-like substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, a Class II substance. A digital scale was also recovered.

“All of these arrests came from the Gallup Police Drug Task Force and with the Detective Division,” Padavich said.

As of May 10, Gonzales is being held at the McKinley County Adult Detention Center on a $2,500 cash or surety bond.

He was charged with two counts of resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, receiving or transferring stolen vehicles, duty to give information and render aid, display of registration, driver’s license suspended/revoked, two counts of (failure to) stop/yield at intersections.

Also, as of May 10, Sanchez is being held at the detention center on a $5,000 cash or surety bond.

She was charged with possession, delivery, or manufacturing of drug paraphernalia, receiving or transferring stolen vehicles, and controlled substance possession.

She has a cash only $1,000 district warrant bond hanging over her head.

By Rick Abasta
Sun Correspondent