FARMINGTON — A former San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy has been charged with harassment and stalking of his estranged wife after he allegedly threatened her life.
The Sheriff's Office SWAT team negotiated his surrender from his Bloomfield home after he consumed numerous prescription drugs, according to a Sheriff's Office press release.
Steve Saiz, 56, was charged Thursday with one felony count of aggravated stalking and two misdemeanor charges of use of telephone to threaten or harass after sending death threats during telephone calls and in text messages to his estranged wife, according to the press release.
According to the press release, members of the SWAT team responded to Saiz's home on Tuesday after deputies failed to make contact with him to serve an arrest warrant. Law enforcement officials brought in a negotiator to talk Saiz into surrendering.
A "highly intoxicated" Saiz peacefully surrendered and admitted to ingesting about 30 muscle relaxer pills prior to his surrender, according to the release.
He was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center for treatment.
The SWAT team was used due to Saiz's prior law enforcement experience, the nature of his threats and his "state of mind," according to the press release.
The suspect was fired from the Sheriff's Office following an incident in March 2008. Saiz pleaded guilty to fourth-degree shooting from a motor vehicle after firing rounds into the air during a fight with his ex-wife.
Detectives from the Sheriff's Office learned of Saiz's threats on April 1 after his wife, an unidentified 46-year-old Aztec woman, posted a comment on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.
"It's sad when anyone gets involved in any (domestic violence) incident because of their volatile nature," said San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christesen in a statement. "Mixing that with prescription drugs and alcohol makes for an extremely dangerous situation. We hope this unfortunate circumstance will provide him the opportunity to get the help that he needs."
During the investigation, officials discovered Saiz's wife had a protection order against him.
Saiz's cash-only bond is set at $10,000.