Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Las Cruces man sentenced to 13 years after 2018 police chase

LAS CRUCES – A man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping and armed robbery was sentenced to 13 years in prison Thursday.

Eduardo Merino, 27, was dictated on one count of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated burglary, one count of armed robbery, two counts of aggravated battery, two counts of aggravated assault, three counts of larceny, and one count of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle in July 2018.

Additionally, Merino was dictated on one count of receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle, two counts of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, one count of criminal damage to property, one count of negligent use of a deadly weapon, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident.

According to court documents, Merino drove a stolen vehicle to a home at the 4200 block of Sotol Drive in the Las Alturas neighborhood on June 5, 2018.

Edward Merino

Upon his arrival, Merino allegedly traded in the shoes he was wearing for a pair of the homeowner’s boots. He also attempted to take at least one firearm. The couple who live at the residence reportedly returned home and interrupted Merino, who reportedly fired at least one shot toward the male homeowner.

The female homeowner reportedly called 911, telling dispatchers that an unknown vehicle was in her driveway and an unidentified Hispanic male was inside the home, reportedly not wearing a shirt.

Merino fled the residence on Sotol, leading sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed pursuit northbound on Interstate 25, at one point crossing into oncoming southbound traffic, according to the sheriff’s office.

Merino reportedly exited the interstate and crashed the vehicle into a light pole near the Omni Apartment complex on Triviz Drive. He then fled on foot and entered a home on Payne Street, where he allegedly assaulted a 23-year-old woman inside the home, forcing her into a bathroom and demanding to know where the keys to her vehicle were, according to the sheriff’s office .

Las Cruces police officers trailed Merino in the victim’s vehicle from the residence on Payne, taking him into custody near the intersection of Panlener and Solano. The female victim from the second assault was transported to a Las Cruces-area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the sheriff’s office reported.

Merino was arrested and transported to the Doña Ana County Detention Center, where he’s been held without bond since 2018. All together, Merino pled guilty to kidnapping, armed robbery, receiving or transferring stolen motor vehicle, aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer, and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Court records show that Merino is also being south by the City of Las Cruces for damaging street lights during the chase.

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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