Taos felon charged with murder for Sugar Lane shooting

Martin Rivera, 23, a known felon in Taos County, has been arrested in Colorado for the murder of 33-year-old Javier Munoz, who was found wounded on Sugar Lane on Saturday (Oct. 19). Courtesy New Mexico State Police

A felon released to a drug treatment center this year in a plea deal with the 8th Judicial District Attorney's Office has been charged with the murder of Javier Munoz, who died after he was shot on Sugar Lane on Saturday (Oct. 19).

Following an investigation, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said his detectives arrested 23-year-old Martin Rivera on a warrant Thursday (Oct. 24), charging him with second-degree murder, two counts of shooting at or from a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

In April, Rivera accepted a plea deal in a case that charged him in another series of crimes from April 2017, including stabbing a man in the parking lot of Smith's grocery store in Taos and robbing two people at gunpoint. The agreement sentenced Rivera to Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services, a drug treatment facility located in Gallup.

"Rivera was developed early on as a person of interest during the investigation," Hogrefe said.

First responders found Munoz, 33, with a single gunshot wound to the abdomen on Saturday in a neighborhood just northwest of Taos. The 33-year-old died later that day at Holy Cross Medical Center.

At the scene where Munoz was found, Hogrefe said they found evidence of a "vehicle of interest," which they later seized and searched using a warrant.

"We have evidence and statements that lead us to believe this was not a random act but rather a dispute directed at Mr. Munoz," Hogrefe wrote in an earlier press release.

After obtaining an arrest warrant, Hogrefe's detectives tracked Rivera to Lakewood, Colorado, where they worked with a local fugitive apprehension unit to locate their suspect. Hogrefe said 8th Judicial District Attorney Marcus Montoya and Deputy DA Ron Olsen also assisted his office in bringing a quick resolution to their investigation.

Hogrefe said Rivera was arrested "without significant incident" and will remain incarcerated in Jackson County, Colorado until he is extradited back to New Mexico to face the new charges and a bench warrant filed after he violated his probation.

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