FARMINGTON — Is it a crackdown on the lone suspect in an unsolved killing or routine police work in a violent area?

Danny Vargas was the only person arrested in the homicide of a 15-year-old Farmington girl. The district attorney dropped a charge of involuntary manslaughter against Vargas in 2007.

Law officers have arrested Vargas, 24, five times since April 2, according to jail records.

In the last eight months Vargas has been charged with two felonies that were dismissed. Three of the arrests were for allegedly violating his probation, which stems from a misdemeanor conviction.

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office said deputies have a long history of responding to the Vargas home at 603 Taos Ave. and other homes in the Totah subdivision just south of Farmington city limits. But the sheriff is not specifically targeting Vargas, said Sgt. Alan Jamison.

"We always have a strong presence in the Totah neighborhood because of the violent behavior there, and the Vargas house is a part of that," Jamison said. "But as far as cracking down on one particular individual or household, I wouldn't say that's true."

Vargas is in the San Juan County jail for a Nov. 9 probation violation, said Thomas May, an assistant public defender representing Vargas.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in district court Dec. 17.


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Vargas' probation officer "has alleged numerous violations ... and we'll address those violations on the date of the hearing," May said.

Vargas was arrested April 2 while the sheriff's office was serving a misdemeanor arrest warrant on Vargas and his next-door neighbor, Shane Graham.

Two days later, Vargas was back at his home when deputies searched the house looking for a video camera that was used to film Vargas' and Graham's arrest, according to court documents.

The sheriff's office said the camera would show that Vargas' brother, Adam, and another man threatened deputies while they were making the arrests.

While searching the home, Erik Peffer, a deputy, was struck in the face with glass when, he said, Vargas threw a marijuana pipe and rolling papers out of a window, according to court documents.

Vargas was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, battery on a police officer, tampering with evidence and obstructing an officer.

He pleaded no contest in May to obstruction and possession, which are misdemeanors. Prosecutors dropped the battery and tampering charges, which are felonies.

He was sentenced to probation.

While on probation, Vargas has been arrested for alleged violations in June, August and November. Court documents said the violations were for using alcohol and marijuana.

Vargas has been the only person arrested in Kailie Sitta's 2007 death.

Sitta was shot in the face outside Vargas' home at the end of a St. Patrick's Day party.

The sheriff's office said witnesses reported Vargas and Sitta were standing together at the time of the shooting but no one saw Vargas shoot Sitta, who was a Farmington High School sophomore, according to court documents.

Vargas' said an unknown man ran up to Sitta, shot her and fled.

The sheriff's office arrested Vargas and charged him with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors dismissed the charges because of lack of evidence.

In 2008, Vargas was arrested charged with aggravated stalking and the case was dismissed.

In all, Vargas has been arrested and charged with five felonies since Sitta's death. All the charges were dismissed.