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Male volunteer firefighter suspended from department

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FARMINGTON — A former and a current San Juan County volunteer firefighter were arrested and accused of conspiring to embezzle about $7,700 using county fuel cards for their own personal use.

Zachary Trujillo, 27, and Kyrie Watkins, 27, are each accused of a third-degree felony count of embezzlement and a fourth-degree felony count of conspiracy, according to court documents.

The couple were charged with embezzling about $7,677 of fuel using the county-issued fuel cards, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. Court documents state Watkins and Trujillo are dating.

Trujillo is a volunteer firefighter for the San Juan County Fire Department District 1 in Kirtland and Watkins is a former volunteer, according to San Juan County Spokesperson Devin Neeley.

The county press release did not identify the alleged suspects.

Trujillo has been indefinitely suspended after the investigation by the San Juan County Sheriff's Office.

He will remain suspended as the criminal case is pending in magistrate and district courts.

Neeley said the county issued the press release to reassure the public that internal checks and balances caught the alleged criminal activity.

"It is thorough audit practices which brought up misuse questions, and the quick action and investigation of the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office which led to the arrests and suspension of the volunteer," according to the press release.

The criminal investigation was launched on Nov. 1 when a detective was contacted by San Juan County Fire Department administration.

It was brought to the attention of the fire department's administration that the PIN codes assigned to Watkins and Trujillo were being overused for fuel cards assigned to fire units, according to court documents.

The detective reviewed county documents and determined Trujillo embezzled about $5,371 and Watkins embezzled about $2,306 for a total of about $7,677.

Court documents state Trujillo had been caught using county fuel cards for his own personal use in the past and was reprimanded internally but allowed to stay on with the department.

Security footage from two Speedway gas stations showed the couple pulling up to the gas pumps in their personal vehicles on the time and date the transactions were made on the county fuel cards.

Jail records show the couple have been booked and released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

The county will seek restitution from the couple as it is committed to the proper use of taxpayer money, according to the press release.

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Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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