Man arrested after police pursuit south of Aztec

Steve Garrison

FARMINGTON — A 25-year-old fugitive was arrested Tuesday afternoon after a police pursuit in San Juan County south of Aztec.

Deputies with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office learned at about 2 p.m. Tuesday that a vehicle stolen that morning was located on County Road 2595 between Aztec and Bloomfield, according to a press release.

With the sheriff's office helicopter overhead, deputies descended on the area, but a male fled in the vehicle, crashing through a residential fence, the release states.

The helicopter maintained a visual on the suspect as the vehicle fled south toward Bloomfield and then headed north on N.M. Highway 575 across N.M. Highway 173, the release states. A deputy deployed spike strips on Hart Canyon Road and succeeded in deflating the vehicle's rear right tire.

The vehicle continued south onto U.S. Highway 550, where a second set of spike strips shredded the remaining tires. The vehicle eventually came to a stop at mile marker 163 on U.S. Highway 550 north of Aztec, according to the release.

Deputies identified the driver as Paul Moreno III.

Moreno was wanted by police on a bench warrant issued Feb. 18 in Aztec Magistrate Court for failure to appear in court on previous charges of aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer.

Moreno is accused in that case of fleeing from deputies on the night of Jan. 24 in a passenger car on U.S. Highway 64 between Farmington and Bloomfield, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Moreno eventually abandoned the vehicle on County Road 5267 and fled the scene on foot, the affidavit states.

Deputies were unable to locate him that night, but Moreno was later arrested on Jan. 27. He was released that same day after a bondsman posted a $6,000 surety bond on his behalf.

A bench warrant for failure to appear in court was also issued in a separate drug case on March 7, according to court records.

Moreno was booked Tuesday into the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on charges of vehicle theft, evading law enforcement officers and driving on a suspended or revoked license, according to the release.

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