The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Bounty hunters charged with multiple felonies


June 27, 2018

CLOVIS — Sometimes getting into Dodge can be just as much trouble as getting out.

That’s the case for three bounty hunters each charged with multiple felonies for “the manner” in which they served in Clovis a non-extraditable warrant from Kansas two Aprils ago, officials said.

Married couple Fabian Arreola and Yeira Sanchez (a.k.a. Yeira Arreola) of Dodge City, Kansas, and Lubbock-area “retrieval agent” Bradley Smith were each charged May 31 with kidnapping, aggravated burglary and extortion following a month-long investigation.

Jared Baca told police he was working April 25, 2017, at a residence on the 100 block of Alphon Street when three bondsmen arrived armed with stun guns and firearms, handcuffed him and ultimately drove him to jail in Ford County, Kansas. The day before, a district court judge there approved a bench warrant on Baca for failure to appear on misdemeanor charges of domestic battery, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property, according to court records.

However, local police said the warrant was “extraditable out of Kansas only,” and that the bondsmen flouted the normal procedure of speaking first to a judge “to expand extradition to New Mexico,” records show.

The Kansas bondsmen contacted Clovis police the evening of April 24, 2017, “inquiring into picking up Jared Baca” and were advised they “could possibly face kidnapping charges by taking someone,” without the right paperwork and permissions, said an arrest warrant affidavit.

Officials said three bondsmen — Arreola, Smith and an as-yet unidentified third Texas agent — entered the house without permission and transported Baca in a Dodge pickup to a parking lot of a business outside Cannon Air Force Base. From there, Smith “asked Yeira if his money was there,” then said “best of luck to you,” leaving the Kansas couple to drive Baca, in handcuffs and leg shackles, almost six hours in a white Cadillac Escalade to Dodge City.

“(Baca) was placed in a charcoal-colored Dodge pickup with four doors and transported from the residence after they allowed him to say goodbye to his kids,” said the affidavit. “Jared told them several times that what they were doing was illegal.”

Of the trio, the 39-year old Smith turned himself in to the Curry County Detention Center on Sunday and awaits a bond hearing. Arreola, 32, was arrested in Meade County, Kansas this month and was released Sunday on a $3,000 cash bond, pending a court appearance July 5. His wife Yeira, 35, was still at large Tuesday afternoon, according to Clovis Police Capt. Roman Romero.

“We don’t see many cases like this, nor do I recall a similar case to this,” Romero told The News in an email.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Stover said he believed Baca served the rest of his time in Kansas and was out of custody. He said that “retrieval agents,” as bondsmen or bounty hunters are sometimes known, regularly do work in Curry County.

“(The charges) are not so much for serving a non-extraditable warrant, but for the manner in which they went about doing it,” he told The News. “We certainly want bond enforced everywhere, but again we’re talking about following the rules.”

Stover said Smith was being charged the same as the Kansas couple Arreola and Sanchez, even though Smith did not go as far as accompanying them and Baca on the drive to Dodge City.

“The bank robber who only drives the getaway car is guilty for everything that happens inside the bank as well,” Stover explained. “I don’t anticipate that I will be seeking max penalty (against the three), but at this point in time I’m going to seek justice.”

Smith’s attorney, Michael Garrett, declined comment on the case.

Arreola’s attorney, Christopher Marlowe of Albuquerque, said he “think(s) the charges are a little extreme” and that his client was entitled to due process.

“I would just say for everybody right now to just keep an open mind and to understand that Mr. Arreola, he does have a business, he is running a business, and as far as I know he has always been in good standing,” he told The News. “I think bondsmen in particular have been given a bad rap. I don’t think it’s a job that you and I would want, sleeping by the phone 24/7. I think unfortunately their status has been monkeyed with for political reasons.”

Career bondsmen Duane Chapman — known as “Dog The Bounty Hunter” — agreed there were more regulations placed on bondsmen in recent years, but that is was important for them to still be able to “grab” offenders from different states.

“It’s a weird deal, you know what I mean? Ten years ago, a lot of these states were open,” said Chapman, who has worked cases in Clovis and even filmed a television episode here in 2013. “It used to be wide open, but today it is very enforced.”


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