Shiprock man arrested on 15th DWI charge
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Levi Manuelito has two felony DWI cases pending in court
FARMINGTON — A Shiprock man is accused of his 15th DWI charge after being arrested Friday by state police.
Levi Manuelito, 57, is accused of a second-degree felony count of driving while under the influence of liquor or drugs (eighth or subsequent offense), according to court records.
There were a handful of DWI arrests during the Christmas weekend.
The San Juan County Sheriff's Office reported five DWI arrests between Friday and Monday, according to Detective Lt. Kyle Lincoln. One of the suspects has a previous DWI conviction.
The Aztec and Bloomfield police departments reported no arrests. Reports for the Farmington Police Department were not available.
The New Mexico State Police did not respond to a request for comment.
A state police press release stated Manuelito had 14 prior DWI convictions.
A copy of a motion for pre-trial detention filed by the San Juan County District Attorney's Office in Farmington Magistrate Court listed six DWI convictions in New Mexico for Manuelito.
It also stated a warrant was issued for Manuelito after he failed to appear in Aztec District Court Oct. 23.
In that case, he is also accused of a second-degree felony count of DWI, according to court documents.
State police officers arrested Manuelito around 3 p.m. on Friday at a gas station at 3215 U.S. Highway 64 in Hogback, according to the probable cause statement.
Officers were following up on a report of a blue vehicle with a temporary tag spotted swerving in the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 64 traveling from Shiprock.
The vehicle was observed by police parked at the gas station. A strong odor of alcoholic beverages was detected inside the vehicle by an officer.
After exiting the vehicle, officers observed Manuelito had bloodshot and watery eyes along with slurred speech, according to court documents.
Manuelito claimed he was not the driver of the vehicle and blamed the four passengers, who told police he drove them to the store.
Three of the four passengers were arrested at the scene on outstanding warrants, according to the press release.
Manuelito is accused of refusing sobriety and breathalyzer tests.
The officer drove Manuelito to the San Juan Regional Medical Center where his blood was drawn after a search warrant was approved. He was then taken to the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.
Manuelito made his first appearance today in Farmington Magistrate Court and a $8,000 cash at 10 percent bond was set in this case.
His preliminary hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 3.
Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.