Man again accused of assaulting a guard

Brett Berntsen
Heriberto Nava-Martinez

FARMINGTON — A 24-year-old Mexican national in jail for attempting to disarm a Farmington police officer, now faces charges for allegedly assaulting a guard — his second such incident in a month.

Heriberto Nava-Martinez was charged Monday in Aztec Magistrate Court with battery upon a peace officer, a fourth-degree felony.

His attorney, Ruth Wheeler, was not available for comment on Monday.

A deputy with the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office responded at about 6 p.m. April 27 to the San Juan County Adult Detention Center in Farmington after receiving reports of a battery, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The deputy was informed an argument ensued after Nava-Martinez was ordered to spend his out-of-cell time in the library. Nava-Martinez grew angry and said he wanted to take a shower and order items from the commissary instead, according to the affidavit. When the officer attempted to push Nava-Martinez back into his cell, he allegedly struck the officer. A response team arrived, and Nava-Martinez was placed in a restraint chair, according to the affidavit.

Nava-Martinez was also charged in early April for allegedly biting a jail guard.

Detention center Administrator Tom Havel declined comment for this story.

Nava-Martinez is being held at the detention center on allegations he stole a pick up truck on Sept. 6 and led police on a brief, chaotic chase on East Main Street. Nava-Martinez was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center after the incident, where he allegedly attempted to disarm a Farmington police officer.

The officer responded by shooting Nava-Martinez several times. The San Juan County District Attorney's Office later determined the shooting was justified.

A preliminary hearing for Nava-Martinez's most recent battery charge was scheduled for May 19.

Brett Berntsen covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606.