State police recover drugs, guns during traffic stop


A New Mexico State Police Officer stopped a vehicle with a fictitious license plate Friday night (Feb. 10) on State Road 68 in Taos County, resulting in the arrest of two wanted individuals and the recovery of cocaine, methamphetamine and firearms.

Marcos Valencia, who had been wanted on prior charges, and Julia Duran, also wanted, were both arraigned in Taos Magistrate Court this week for drug trafficking, concealing identity and other charges stemming from last week’s arrest.

Officer William Negrete wrote in a statement of probable cause that he was patrolling the highway Friday night when he encountered a grey Chrysler sedan with a broken rear license plate light.

As he approached, Negrete said the driver of the vehicle stopped abruptly and pulled to the side of the road. Negrete passed the vehicle but was able to make out its license plate. Running the number through a database, he was able to determine that the license plate belonged to another vehicle, a 2002 Tan Chevrolet.

He pulled over to the shoulder and waited for the vehicle to pass before stopping the sedan.

Negrete said he asked a woman driver and a male passenger for identification. The woman first provided a driver’s license that belonged to her sister, but then identified herself as Duran, wanted for failure to pay fines incurred from traffic violations picked up in February 2017.

The man in the backseat also attempted to conceal his identity, Negrete wrote in the report. The man first provided a name that produced a photo that clearly did not match.

Negrete advised the man that lying about his identity was a crime. The man then identified himself as Valencia, wanted for multiple counts of assault with intent to commit a violent felony and shooting at or from a motor vehicle. Court records indicate that Valencia has an extensive rap sheet, including multiple cases for drug possession.

As Negrete arrested Valencia and Duran, Valencia advised the officer that there were drugs and weapons inside the vehicle.

Negrete and another supporting state police officer who arrived during the arrest recovered seven firearms, a machete, a bulletproof vest, power tools, two bows with arrows, more than 11 grams of cocaine and roughly 22 grams of methamphetamine.

Preliminary hearings for Valencia and Duran will be held on Feb. 26 in Taos Magistrate Court.