Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Federal charges pressed against Las Cruces man accused of murder

LAS CRUCES – Federal prosecutors leveled federal charges against a Las Cruces man accused of murder.

Rudy Garcia, 34, is charged with first-degree murder after police said he shot and killed Anthony Juarez on Jan 29. Police arrested Garcia on Jan 31. According to an affidavit written by Las Cruces Police Department Det. Joseph Campa, Garcia and Juarez drove to a house on Wolf Trail in the Desert Garden Mobile Home Park on Jan 24.

In the early morning hours, video surveillance camera footage from a nearby residence showed Garcia and Juarez leave in a Chrysler 200 and walk to a trailer, according to Campa. Meanwhile, Campa said that two other people sat in the car waiting for Garcia and Juarez to return.

The two men returned to the Chrysler a few minutes later, Campa said. As they get back into the car, a few moments pass before Juarez gets out of the car and begins to flee. Campa noted that the surveillance camera footage shows Garcia shooting at Juarez four times as Juarez runs.

Juarez, who was shot at least once, was taken to a Las Cruces hospital before he died.

After police arrested Garcia, Campa testified in a hearing that Garcia admitted to the shooting but said he shot in self-defense. According to Campa, Garcia alleged that Juarez had tried to rob him with a gun. Campa said investigators discovered an unloaded gun where they found Juarez.

In June, a federal grand jury indicted Garcia with conspiracy, distribution of fentanyl, using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and in furtherance of such a crime, discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime resulting in death, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The federal indictment added that police believed Garcia and the other occupants in the Chrysler were involved in a fentanyl deal at the time of the shooting.

While a state district court already ordered Garcia detained until a court resolves the case, a federal court followed suit on July 17.

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Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at JE [email protected].

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