A Velarde man who was pulled over on Dec. 22 because New Mexico State Police thought a murder suspect was in a car that matched his, vowed to police that he was going to flood the city with “blues” and use his gang connections to “ruin lives.”
Española Police Officer Jose Lujan pulled over the gold Cadillac CTS and spoke with the driver, Julian Romero, 41, a known felon. He explained why he pulled the man over and as he was talking to him, he saw a green-tipped .223 rifle round on the floorboard of the car, beneath his feet.
At that point, the man told Lujan that he no longer wished to speak to him and would have to speak with his attorney. Lujan asked him to slowly step out of the car. Once he complied, he was handcuffed and led away from the Cadillac.
“I explained to Mr. Romero he was being charged with felon in possession of a firearm or other explosive devise (sic) due to being in possession of the ammunition under the seat.”
Once Romero was away from the car, Lujan searched it and found several different types of ammunition, to include: More .223 cartridges, shotgun shells, .22 ammunition and a small unrecognizable caliber.
“Mr. Romero had attempted to hide the original .223 round under trash on the floor board prior to exiting the vehicle,” Lujan wrote.
Because he had already found ammunition, the officer believed there was a gun in the car. Romero also allegedly told Officer Donnie Gutierrez, who was also on scene, that he always carries a 9-mm pistol on him.
Lujan’s hunch about a gun was right. He found a loaded Mossberg shotgun on the back seat. He did a triple I inquiry on Romero and found out that he has numerous felony convictions on his record.
The man was taken to the Española Detention Center, to be booked, but his situation only worsened. During a search in the holding area, Gutierrez found 16 blue fentanyl pills on Romero, along with a small baggie that had what looked like heroin on one side and cocaine on the other. A small pistol magazine was also found on him.
“While in holding Mr. Romero acted suspiciously by hiding his hands and head down into his sweater and was attempting to keep his back toward officers,” Lujan wrote.
Because of the strange behavior, another search of Romero was conducted and this time, he was found to be clutching his right hand and refused to open it.
“I was able to pull Mr. Romero’s fingers open at which point two more blue fentanyl pills fell out of his hand,” Lujan wrote. “Mr. Romero then made the statement, ‘I’m gonna flood your whole city with blues.’”
Romero was taken to the Española Hospital, where he was medically cleared for jail. He told officers he had about $7,000 in cash hidden in his car, but he wouldn’t allow them to re-enter the Cadillac to get the money.
“While in the detention center, Mr. Romero made multiple statements about harming officers and using his gang connections to ‘ruin lives.’”
According to an online court records search, Romero has a case pending in Española Magistrate Court for one count each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery, stemming from a Sept. 3 case.
He also failed to appear in court on a case from Dec. 22, in which he was charged with two counts of receipt, transportation or possession of a firearm or destructive device by a felon; two counts of tampering with evidence; and three counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was supposed to appear in court on Jan. 4, for a dangerousness hearing, but did not.
A case was also filed in Española Magistrate Court on Dec. 31 for one count each of no proof of insurance, speeding (1-10 mph over in a construction zone), no registration and no insurance.