Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry, left, and Roosevelt County Sheriff Tom Gossett look over the 17 gross grams of suspected methamphetamine seized Wednesday in a drug bust conducted by the two agencies.
More than a dozen Portales police and Roosevelt County Sheriff’s officers swooped down on a county residence — in a borrowed ambulance — Wednesday night to serve a search warrant. They came away with three arrests and $1,700 worth of suspected crystal methamphetamine.
Using information provided by an informant, police obtained the warrant for a residence at 452 S. Roosevelt Road T. Police reports show the informant gave detailed information on narcotics present in the household, in addition to weapons on the premises and security systems around the property.
Police said they had information that surveillance equipment was in use at the residence and the suspect closely monitored police activity on a scanner. That’s why officers made the decision to use an ambulance unit borrowed from the Portales Fire Department to transport officers to the house.
Dispatchers put out a fake radio call for ambulance crews to respond to a neighboring residence in reference to an ill subject. That provided cover for the vehicle activity in the neighborhood, according to the police report. Police then loaded into the back of the ambulance and set out for the residence with lights and siren blaring.
“We knew from the informant’s information that he had the surveillance equipment in the yard and we knew it was going to be hard to approach without the possibility of (the suspect) destroying evidence,” said Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry, who coordinated the bust with the sheriff’s office.
Berry said that information, along with the ability for a lot of officers to exit the vehicle quickly through its three doors, made the ambulance the best choice for transportation.
Arrested in the raid was Armando Ontiveros, 38, who listed his address as the home raided. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a third-degree felony, and with possession of drug equipment.
Also arrested at the residence were Juan Tovar, 22, of Portales on possession of drug paraphernalia and Anastacio Saenz Jr., 31, of Portales on charges of concealing identification, and outstanding warrants for probation violation and failure to appear.
Ontiveros and Tovar had bonded out by Thursday afternoon. Saenz was still being held as of press time.
Attempts to contact the suspects by the PNT were unsuccessful.