Fred Baca Park absconder arraigned on new charges

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Requildo E. Cardenas, 36, of Des Montes, was arraigned on new charges in Taos County Magistrate Court Thursday morning (Sept. 7) for alleged crimes connected to an officer-involved shooting that took place Monday (Aug. 28) at Fred Baca Park in Taos.

Chief Magistrate Court Judge Ernest Ortega read the defendant the new charges related to the event, which include three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, a third-degree felony that carries maximum sentencing of three years in state prison.

The three counts are for Cardenas' alleged attempt to use a vehicle to harm three law enforcement officers, Officer Luke Martinez of Taos Police Department and New Mexico Adult Probation and Parole Officers Gabriel Martinez and Augustine Pacheco, during the event at the park.

Cardenas was also charged with aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer, a fourth-degree felony with sentencing up to 18 months in New Mexico; and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor that can carry a year of incarceration.

The charges come after New Mexico Adult Probation and Parole officers spotted Cardenas behind the wheel of a teal-colored Saturn sedan on Aug. 28 in a parking lot at the public park. A passenger later identified as 20-year-old Elizabeth Maestas of Ranchos de Taos rode beside him.

When the officers attempted to serve a warrant on Cardenas for allegedly missing a probation hearing, Cardenas allegedly tried to strike officers with the vehicle as he attempted to flee, according to a New Mexico State Press release. The officers fired at the vehicle, missing Cardenas and striking Maestas once in the lower abdomen. Cardenas was arrested and Maestas was taken to Holy Cross Hospital, and later, to University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where she was stabilized.

Cardenas is being held in the Taos County Adult Detention Center without bond, pending a district court decision to approve a motion from the Eighth Judicial District Attorney's Office to place the defendant on a pre-trial no-bond hold.

During the arraignment, Cardenas said he would be using a private defense attorney, Alan Maestas, on the case, though Maestas was not present in court on Thursday.

Cardenas disputed the motion for a no-bond hold, and attempted to argue that the court was failing to honor his right to due process. "I just want it to be stated that my civil rights are being violated," he said.

When the charges were presented to Cardenas for signing, he initially refused, stating that he wasn't comfortable doing so without his attorney present. "You will sign these documents, Mr. Cardenas," Ortega said. "If you don't, I'll hold you in contempt of court ..." Ortega reminded him that the purpose of the arraignment was only to inform Cardenas of the charges that had been filed and his rights under the law.

A preliminary hearing has not yet been set in Cardenas' new case.

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