Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies have recovered five stolen vehicles — including one that might have been used by a suspect sought in a Dec. 19 road rage shooting — and arrested three people on charges of receiving and transporting stolen vehicles and possession of firearms.
Deputies recovered a number of weapons, including two handguns and an AR-15 rifle, along with spent casings and assorted cellphones, in the Sunday afternoon operation in a wooded area near Forest Road 24 off Caja del Rio Road, the sheriff’s office said in a news release issued Monday.
Spokesman Juan Ríos said deputies were still at the crime scene Monday afternoon.
“The suspects were taken into custody last night, and the crime scene was secured because there was so much snow out there,” Ríos said. He added the stolen vehicles will be taken as evidence and returned to the owners after they are identified.
Those arrested were 45-year-old Jeremy Foreman, 35-year-old Kimberly Chavez and 39-year-old Pedro Morales Bustos, the news release said. A search of online court records showed Morales Bustos pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving or transferring stolen vehicles in Bernalillo County in 2019.
None of the suspects arrested Sunday were tied to the road rage shooting that wounded a woman in the leg. In that case, 27-year-old David Dean Gallegos Jr. faces 11 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Santa Fe police said Gallegos, who has not yet been arrested, is accused of shooting the woman, a visitor from out of town who had followed his car after he sideswiped her vehicle on Cerrillos Road. An arrest warrant affidavit says the woman’s family told police the driver, identified as Gallegos, then fired multiple shots into their vehicle, which had two children in the back seat.
According to the sheriff’s office news release, deputies responded to a call from a man who said his pickup had been stolen, and he believed it was abandoned at a forested site where he saw other vehicles.
“The victim led deputies to the approximate area where his vehicle had been hidden,” the news release said. “As deputies proceeded to search the area they located other vehicles, which included the male’s stolen Ford pickup along with two 30-foot camper trailers and two passenger vehicles.”
When deputies called out to the occupants of the campers, one suspect — who Ríos later said was Morales Bustos — fled on foot. Deputies apprehended him after deploying an electronic stun gun. The other two suspects were arrested without incident.
Ríos said investigators discovered all the vehicles had been stolen, including the one used in the road rage incident in December. He said deputies found a gun in that vehicle, as well, although he did not specify what type of weapon it was.
He said his agency does not yet know if the site where the vehicles were found has been used as a hub for stolen vehicles in the past.
“We will talk to the individual who had his vehicle stolen to find out how he came to understand his stolen truck was out there,” Ríos said. “Right now, based on early statements that man made, he was just driving around looking for his truck in the area when he found it.”
An online search of
Santa Fe County jail records showed Chavez and Morales Bustos were still incarcerated Monday evening, while Foreman had been released.