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State Seeks to Hold NORA Manager Until Trial Date

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cops Velarde SWAT NMSP Abran Romero NORA RGB.jpg

New Mexico State Police Officers secured equipment Aug. 17 in Velarde near County Road 50 after a six-hour long standoff with Abran Romero. State Police were called to the home of Romero’s ex-girlfriend where he was allegedly barricaded inside a bedroom and threatened to shoot police.

New Mexico State Police arrested Northern Rio Arriba Electric Cooperative General Manager Abran Romero Aug. 17 in Velarde after an hourslong standoff.

Romero, 47, of Sapello, was charged with three counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, one count of aggravated burglary and negligent use of a deadly weapon.

State Police Officer Miguel Flores filed a criminal complaint in the Rio Arriba Magistrate Court Monday detailing the charges.

“I received a call from dispatch in reference to a male individual threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend,” Flores wrote.

The call to dispatch came in from a third-party who was not identified in the criminal complaint.

The caller told dispatchers that Romero had sent a video via text message to his ex-girlfriend that showed him to be inside her house. He also allegedly sent threatening messages saying he was going to kill the woman.

“The third party informed dispatch Abran does not reside with his ex-girlfriend and forced entry into the residence must have been made,” Flores wrote. “Dispatch informed me Abran was possibly intoxicated and was in possession of a rifle and other unknown firearms.”

State Police Public Information Officer Mark Soriano said Monday that officers conducted a security sweep of the home off County Road 50 when they arrived.

“Officers heard a voice and movement from a bedroom,” Soriano said. “Officers gave commands to Romero to exit the bedroom. Romero told officers he was armed and not to come in.”

Flores wrote that officers retreated from the house after Romero warned he was armed.

“Upon tactical regress out of the residence, I covered the door to the room Abran was in, I observed Abran step out towards the door and I could clearly see Abran was brandishing a long rifle,” Flores wrote. “Abran continually yelled towards us state (sic) he would shoot us if we went towards him.”

Flores wrote that he and other officers at the scene “felt in immediate danger,” for their safety and well-being.

The State Police tactical team and crisis negotiations team was called to the scene and assumed command of the incident, Soriano said.

“After a six-hour standoff, Romero surrendered peacefully and was taken into custody without incident,” Soriano wrote.

Romero was booked into the Rio Arriba County Detention Center where he remains in custody.

He was arraigned on Monday in Magistrate Court.

Northern Rio Arriba Electric Cooperative Board President Steve Rendon said Tuesday the entire incident took the Co-op by surprise.

Rendon said the incident was still under review by the Co-op and they were trying to determine how to retrieve a company vehicle that Romero had driven to Velarde. He said the vehicle was towed from Velarde on orders from State Police.

In the meantime, Anthony Mercure is serving as interim director, Rendon said.

“(Romero) was supposed to contact me after he was arraigned if he was released,” Rendon said.

He said Detention Center staff told him he would be contacted and he had not heard from Romero.

Romero may not be released any time soon. It will depend on the outcome of a dangerousness hearing set for Friday in front of First Judicial District Court Judge Jason Lidyard.

First Judicial District Attorney’s Office Assistant District Attorney Ihsan Ahmed filed a motion for pretrial detention with the court Monday.

“In this case (Romero) threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend, broke into his ex-girlfriend’s house, and threatened to shoot police officers with the rifle in his hand,” Ahmed wrote. “It took police officers hours and the use of the (State Police tactical team) to get the defendant to surrender, thus lesser conditions (of release) will not protect the community from the threat (Romero) poses.”

Although Romero does not have any prior felony convictions, Ahmed wrote that he previously failed to appear in Magistrate Court for a traffic ticket earlier this month.

If the motion for pretrial detention is granted, Romero would have to remain in the Detention Center until his trial.

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