When two Socorro County Sheriff’s deputies answered a call to assist tribal police with an aggravated assault incident on the Alamo Navajo reservation, they weren’t expecting to end up seizing a large quantity of fentanyl pills, 2,917 to be exact.

On Sunday, Aug. 27, Fermin Aguilera of Socorro County was taken into custody and charged with trafficking a controlled substance, possession of a firearm by a felon, receiving stolen property, tampering with evidence, and concealing identity.

Socorro Sheriff’s Detective James Nance commended Deputies Mike Perrault and Weylin Meltin for successfully apprehending Aguilera.

The criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court on Monday stated that the suspect (Aquilera) showed up at a house in Alamo on Sunday afternoon and was acting aggressively.

“He went to the house of a woman at Alamo,” Nance said. “He knocked on the door and said that somebody in the house had stolen his cell phone and then pushed his way in. The woman and her husband pushed him out, and then he displayed a pistol he had in his waistband.”

Evidence collected at the scene.
Submitted photo

The criminal complaint said that Aquilera never pulled the handgun from his waistband; however, the victims stated they were in fear of him.

“That’s when they called the Sheriff, and Deputy Meltin and Deputy Perrault were dispatched,” Nance said.

The Crownpoint District of the Navajo Police Department was apprised of the situation.

“Navajo Police said they were not going to take primary on the case, as the male suspect was non-Native American,” he said.

The criminal complaint said that after the suspect left the house, two Alamo individuals, Kendall Apachito and Wyatt Billy, followed him at a distance and kept him in sight.

“They followed him until he got to the (T’iis Tśoh) mini-mart,” Nance said. “He went into the mini-mart and was seen by Apachito and Billy hiding the pistol and a backpack behind merchandise on the shelves.”

Deputies Meltin and Perrault arrived at the mini-mart just after 5 p.m. and found Navajo police officers and a small group of community members in the parking lot.

“As soon as I drove up, I observed that Kendall and Wyatt were holding Fermin on the ground with his wrists cuffed, allowing an officer of the Navajo Nation to deal with four others involved,” Meltin said.

During the investigation, Meltin and Perrault learned about the backpack that Aguilera was seen stashing in the Alamo store.

“In the CCTV video, I observed Aguilera enter the store wearing a small backpack,” Meltin said in the criminal complaint. “I observed Aguilera place an item on a shelf behind merchandise.”

That item turned out to be a handgun.

“I then observed him removing the backpack and also placing it behind merchandise on the shelf,” Meltin said.

The criminal complaint said a search warrant was sought and approved to search the backpack.

In three separate plastic bags, Meltin recovered 2,917 fentanyl pills.

Aguilera was arrested and transported to the Socorro County Detention Center.

According to Seventh District Court records, Aguilera was also wanted for failure to appear for a previous trafficking case.

“We had a lot of help,” Meltin said in an interview. “The guys at Alamo really helped. They played a huge helping hand.”

According to court documents, Aguilera was to appear before Seventh District Judge Shannon Murdock on Tuesday.

In a related case, “Aguilera was charged with aggravated assault times two for what he did at the house that started this whole incident,” Meltin said.

Multiple charges include:

  • Trafficking controlled substances, a class 2 felony,
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon, a class 3 felony
  • Tampering with Evidence, a class 3 felony
  • Receiving Stolen Property, a class 4 felony
  • Concealing Identity, a petty misdemeanor