PRESS RELEASE: 5 juveniles arrested in connection with North Farmington burglary

Farmington, NM – School resource officers with the Farmington Police Department were contacted yesterday around 1:00 p.m. at Piedra Vista High School in reference to a student with a handgun and ammunition on school property. The officer contacted the student, a juvenile male, who had a pistol, ammunition and paraphernalia indicative of gang involvement in his possession.

Detectives and members of the Gang Unit responded to the school; the Gang Unit responded based on the gang associations and firearm information. Through investigation, detectives learned that five juvenile males had burglarized a home on the north side of Farmington. School resource officers, gang officers and patrol officers worked to quickly locate the other four juveniles involved in the burglary. At least two firearms, along with several other items, were stolen from the residence. Detectives and crime scene investigation responded to the residence and processed the scene. A suspect vehicle was located and towed from Lions Wilderness Park, and a search warrant was executed by CSI and detectives. One firearm and several other stolen property items were located in the vehicle. Several detectives collaborated to interview the five juveniles and obtain search warrants for backpacks containing other stolen items.

During the investigation no statements were made from the suspects stating the weapons and ammunition were to be used in an act of school violence.

The District Attorney’s Office was contacted and the Juvenile Probation Office authorized a hold on all five juveniles for the following charges:

First 15-year-old was charged with Aggravated Burglary, Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary and bringing a firearm on school campus

Second 15-year-old was charged with Aggravated Burglary and Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary

Third 15-year-old was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary, Accessory to Aggravated Burglary and carrying a weapon on school campus

Both 17-year-olds were charged with Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Burglary and Accessory to Aggravated Burglary

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PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police warn citizens about credit card skimmers

cc skimmerFarmington, NM – Detectives with the Farmington Police Department are investigating a case of credit card skimming and have tips to help citizens avoid falling victim to this scam. On January 26, 2019 officers responded to a local gas station after numerous gas pumps were found with damage. The pumps were inspected, which led to the discovery of two credit card skimmers that had been placed on the pump’s computer. These skimmers are internal and transmit using Bluetooth technology. The devices cannot be seen from the outside of the pump but can be detected using a smartphone.

To help reduce chances of falling victim to this crime, police are advising citizens to stand next to the pump and search for Bluetooth signals on their smartphone BEFORE inserting their debit/credit card. If new signals are received containing random, unreadable or unrecognizable letters or numbers, DON’T USE THE PUMP!  Notify the store attendant and call police!

Anyone who believes they’ve been the victim of a card skimmer should notify their financial institution and call police.

If you have any information that could assist in identifying the person or persons responsible for this scam, please contact the Farmington Police Department Detective Tip Hotline at (505) 599-1068 or call non-emergency dispatch at (505) 334-6622.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police seeking public’s assistance in 1988 cold case homicide

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Farmington, NM – The Farmington Police Department is seeking information on the death of Feliciano Mendoza. On May 10, 1988, officers were called to the area of Broadway Avenue and West Main Street on a report of a downed subject. When officers arrived, they discovered Feliciano Mendoza suffering from head trauma.  He was pronounced deceased at the scene. Several individuals near the area were interviewed but were unable to provide any viable information. The investigation quickly went cold.

The Farmington Police Department is seeking information that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect(s) responsible for Mendoza’s death. Anyone with information that could help move this case forward, is asked to contact Detective Heather Chavez at (505) 566-2370 or non-emergency dispatch at (505) 334-6622. Anonymous tips may be submitted to the Farmington Police Department Detective Tip Hotline at (505) 599-1068.

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PRESS RELEASE: City, police and fire lead welcome home procession for Chevel

Farmington, NM – The community is welcoming local star Chevel Shepherd home following her win on The Voice. The City of Farmington along with Farmington Police Department, Farmington Fire Department, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and San Juan County Fire Department are honored to be part of Chevel’s return. A police and fire escort will lead Chevel into San Juan County on Saturday between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. Family, friends and fans are encouraged to line the streets of Aztec, Flora Vista and Farmington with signs, flags and more to show their love and support for this local teen who’s Jolted Our Journey. A welcome home rally will take place inside the Scorpion Arena at Farmington High School. The procession will take place as follows:
  • Aztec along Highway 516
  • Flora Vista along Highway 516
  • Farmington along Main Street to Pinon Hills to College Boulevard to 30th Street to Sunset ending at FHs
While Chevel is expected to arrive around 2:00 p.m., doors will open at 1:00 p.m. Seating will be available on a first come first serve basis. If you can not attend, KWYK 94.9 FM radio will be broadcasting the event live. Organizers are asking the community to share photos and videos of Chevel’s welcome home across social media.
Farmington Mayor Nate Duckett expressed his gratitude, “The enthusiasm, support and love our community has shown Chevel in this journey is a testament to the quality of people who comprise Farmington.”
Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes added, “We could not be prouder of Chevel’s talent, poise and grace as she represented her community on the national stage. Her success exemplifies that Farmington truly is a community where individuals can thrive. Thank you to Farmington Municipal Schools, San Juan County, our neighboring communities and all of New Mexico for their support of Chevel.”

PRESS RELEASE: Homicide suspect arrested

Farmington, NM – Farmington police arrested 24-year-old Raheem Benally of Farmington in connection with a homicide that took place yesterday. Officers were dispatched around 6:19 last night to Brothers Avenue in reference to a man, later identified as 37-year-old Philbert Vanwinkle of Farmington, lying in the road. The reporting party informed dispatch the man was bleeding and didn’t appear to be breathing. Officers arrived on scene and found Vanwinkle to be deceased with apparent multiple stab wounds. Two persons of interest were initially detained for questioning and then released. Benally was later identified as the suspect and a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of second degree murder and tampering with evidence. Detectives learned he was in the Shiprock area and obtained an extradition warrant approved by the Navajo Nation. Farmington police took Benally into custody without incident around 7:00 this evening. He was transported to the San Juan County Detention Center where he was booked on the warrant.

The Farmington Police Department would like to thank the Navajo Police Department and Navajo Nation prosecutors for their assistance.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police investigating homicide

Farmington, NM – Farmington police were dispatched around 6:19 this evening to Brothers Avenue in reference to a man laying in the road. The reporting party informed dispatch the man was bleeding and didn’t appear to be breathing. Officers arrived on scene and found the man to be deceased. Two persons of interest who were in the area have been detained for questioning. The incident is being investigated as a homicide. We’ll continue to provide updates as they become available.

PRESS RELEASE: Farmington police to host annual Christmas food drive

FPD Christmas Food Drive 2018Farmington, NM – The Farmington Police Department will host their annual Christmas food drive on December 15 and 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Albertsons in Farmington. They’ll be accepting monetary and non-perishable food donations as well as turkeys and hams. The department has hosted the drive for over 12 years. Farmington police Lieutenant Matt Veith has been organizing the event since 2006 and expressed his appreciation for the community’s generosity, “This event has been a success year after year because of the wonderful people of San Juan County. We see people from all walks of life coming in to donate; some who are experiencing struggles of their own. That speaks volumes of the individuals who comprise our community.”

Donations will be distributed on Monday, December 17 to Catholics Charities, the Children Youth and Families Department’s Juvenile Services, Navajo Ministries, PATH Homeless Shelter and the Family Crisis Center Emergency Shelter.