Four people charged in armed robbery at casino

Steve Garrison
Chris Privette

FARMINGTON – Four people were charged in connection with an armed robbery Wednesday that led to a four-and-a-half-hour standoff at a residence east of Farmington.

Chris Privette, Andrew Aguero, Joshua McCain and Shasta Ensminger were each charged Thursday in Aztec Magistrate Court with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit false imprisonment.

Joshua McCain

Privette, Aguero and McCain face additional charges of auto burglary and conspiracy to commit auto burglary. Privette was also charged with interference with communications and petty misdemeanor vandalism.

Deputies from the San Juan County Sheriff's Office were dispatched at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday to SunRay Park & Casino after receiving reports from casino security that a man was being robbed at gunpoint in the west parking lot, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Employees told a deputy at the scene the suspects were fleeing east on County Road 5468 in a Toyota pickup truck. The deputy pursued the truck, which then came to a stop in the driveway at No. 13 County Road 5468, the affidavit states.

Andrew Aguero

The driver of the vehicle fled into the residence, dropping an 8-inch knife under a vehicle in the process, according to the affidavit.

The vehicle's passengers — Ensminger, 34; Aguero, 31; and McCain, 34 — were detained and identified the driver as Privette, the affidavit states.

Privette, 32, was picked up by a man in a silver Nissan pickup and dropped off at a residence at No. 4 County Road 5468, the affidavit states. The homeowner confirmed a short, Hispanic man with a goatee forced his way into the residence, according to the affidavit.

Shasta Ensminger

Privette allegedly hid at the residence for four-and-a-half hours in a standoff with San Juan County and Farmington SWAT teams before he was taken into custody at 5:15 p.m.

Darin Scott was identified as the alleged victim in the robbery, according to the affidavit.

He told detectives Privette, McCain and Aguero approached him inside the casino and asked him to go outside with them. He initially refused, but complied after they threatened to damage his pickup truck, the affidavit states.

Once outside, Scott said Privette jammed a semiautomatic pistol into his back and demanded the keys to his vehicle, according to the affidavit.

Scott told detectives the three men looked through his vehicle window for valuables, and Privette stole several hundred dollars from his pocket.

He said Privette then threw his keys at him and said next time he would force Scott into his vehicle, the affidavit states.

Preliminary examination hearings have not yet been set for the defendants.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.