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

Livestock sellers plead to misdemeanor charges

 

Last updated 11/13/2021 at 4:23pm



PORTALES — An indictment of two livestock sellers six years ago included an accusation of 139 criminal charges ranging from fraud to racketeering and forgery.

The case came to a conclusion last month, with Portales’ Calvin and Darcie Pareo each pleading to just two misdemeanor charges of duties of licenses and paying $2,103 in court fines and fees. The 139 charges were whittled down to the two misdemeanor charges and 50 felony charges that were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

A jury trial against the Pareos, scheduled for Oct. 22, was set to ask a jury to judge actions everybody agreed were taking place. After an auction was complete, the Pareos would help sellers of cattle that didn’t reach minimum bids find buyers at a lower negotiated price.

Prosecutors contended the practice manipulated the market and defrauded potential buyers unaware of such sales. Dozens of area dairy farmers, in sworn affidavits filed on the Pareos’ behalf, said post-auction sales for animals that don’t reach the minimum are common practice.

Assistant District Attorney Quentin Ray told The News that two factors weighed heaviest on the decision to reach a plea agreement. He said the case has always been convoluted, but the COVID-19 pandemic removed any confidence he had a three-week trial could take place. Second, the trial has from the beginning had citizens who did want to pursue a conviction and citizens who didn’t believe charges should have ever been filed; over the last six years, an increasing number of citizens fell in the latter category.

“I still believe there were crimes,” Ray said, “but at the end of the day we didn’t have anybody that was wanting to pursue the charges out of this thing.”

A Friday attempt to contact Gary Mitchell, attorney for the Pareos, was not successful.

 
 

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