Ranchos man charged after Friday drive-by

By John Miller
Posted 5/2/19

A Taos County man appeared in court this week to face charges for allegedly shooting out a vehicle’s tire in Ranchos de Taos during a dispute over stolen rent money on Friday (April 26).

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Ranchos man charged after Friday drive-by


A Taos County man appeared in court this week to face charges for allegedly shooting out a vehicle’s tire in Ranchos de Taos during a dispute over stolen rent money on Friday (April 26).

Taos County Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Apodaca arrested Moses Ortiz de Trujillo, 29, after finding bullet holes in the vehicle that was reportedly shot while traveling southbound along State Road 68 Friday afternoon. Apodaca also recorded statements given by the vehicle’s occupants, who said Ortiz de Trujillo fired the shots while attempting to run them off the road.

A report of a driver in a gold GMC pickup attempting to run a black Mazda RX-8 off the road came across emergency radio channels a few minutes before 5 p.m. It was relayed to law enforcement as an “assault in progress,” according to a statement of probable cause Apodaca filed with the case.

Moments after the initial report, the caller said that the driver of the pickup had fired shots at their vehicle while they were traveling southbound through Ranchos.

When he reached the area, Apodaca encountered the Mazda with its headlights flashing on the side of the road. When he approached, he said a male passenger yelled at him that the gold GMC had continued southbound.

Apodaca then returned to his vehicle and went south.

Meanwhile, a sergeant with the sheriff’s office also stopped to speak with the people in the black Mazda. As he spoke with them, the gold pickup drove past, headed northbound on 68, according to the deputy’s report.

The sergeant told the deputy over the radio that he was going to attempt to stop the gold pickup.

He tracked the vehicle onto Llano Quemado Sur on the west side of 68, where the vehicle came to a stop.

Apodaca drove to the sergeant’s location and assisted him in performing a felony traffic stop, a procedure reserved for situations where law enforcement believe a suspect in a vehicle could be armed or dangerous.

The deputy wrote in his report that they were able to safely remove three occupants from the gold pickup: Ortiz de Trujillo, a front passenger, Nicole Maestas, and a rear passenger, Ariel Montano.

After he was read his Miranda Rights, Ortiz de Trujillo informed the officers that he was trying to stop the black Mazda because one of its occupants had stolen rent from Maestas’ residence.

Maestas claimed to have video surveillance of the alleged theft, but said she didn’t want to bother law enforcement, and instead opted to attempt to resolve the dispute herself, according to the deputy’s report of the interview.

Ortiz de Trujillo said he had chased the black vehicle and yelled at the driver to stop, but he said he never fired a weapon or tried to run the vehicle off the road.

The deputy investigated the rear of the vehicle and noted that “some of the bullets traveled through the rear fender, through the tire, and through the rim.”

Apodaca also wrote that he recovered two 9mm bullet casings from State Road 68 near mile post 39, where the shooting reportedly took place.

But he did not find a gun. The deputy determined that Ortiz de Trujillo or one of the occupants in his vehicle had thrown the weapon from the vehicle prior to the traffic stop.

Ortiz de Trujillo was charged with three fourth-degree felonies: shooting at or from a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was also charged with injuring or tampering with a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor.

He appeared in Taos Magistrate Court on Monday (April 29) and was released without bond. A preliminary examination is scheduled for May 13 at 9:30 a.m.


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