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Lovington, New Mexico (November 8, 2012) -Lea County Sheriff's deputies have arrested Augustine Munoz (26) of Hobbs and charged him with two (2) open counts of murder and two (2) counts of 1st Degree Kidnapping for the deaths of Leon Sanchez(49) and Frank McClain(44) both of Lovington, NM

On Thursday, November 10,2011, Sheriffs deputies were dispatched to a location off US Highway 82, approximately 4 miles east of Lovington, regarding two bodies found in a pasture. The decedants were identified as Leon Sanchez and Frank McClain. Investigative activity throughout the last year has provided Sheriff's Investigators with probable cause to believe Augustine Munoz was involved in the murders along with Francisco Munoz (20), and Pedro R. Dominguez (27) of Lovington, New Mexico.

Augustine Munoz was booked into the Lea County Detention Center and is being held on a $1,000,000 cash bond. The investigation is continuing. No other information is being rel'eased at this time as the investigation remains active.

From:   Major J.D. “Will” Wilmeth
Lea County Sheriff’s Office
(575) 396-8202 
Lovington, New Mexico (November 6, 2012)– During the evening hours of November 5, 2012, Lea County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Pedro R. Dominguez (27) of Lovington and charged him with two (2) open counts of murder and two (2) counts of 1stDegree Kidnapping for the deaths of Leon Sanchez (49) and Frank McClain (44), both of Lovington, New Mexico. On Thursday, November 10, 2011, Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a location off US Highway 82, approximately 4 miles east of Lovington, regarding two bodies found in a pasture. The decedents were identified as Leon Sanchez and Frank McClain. Physical evidence collected during the first months of this investigation enabled Sheriff’s Office investigators to identify a white compact car and subsequently locate, fully identify and charge Francisco Munoz (20) of Lovington on charges of kidnapping related to the murders. Further investigative activity has provided Sheriff’s Investigators with probable cause to believe Munoz and Dominguez were involved in the murders along with other individuals who have not yet been located.Munoz has since been charged with two (2) open counts of murder and remains incarcerated since his arrest on a $1,000,000 cash bond. Pedro Dominguez is also being held at the Lea County Detention Center on a $1,000,000 cash bond. The investigation is continuing and additional arrests are anticipated. No other information is being released at this time as the investigation remains active.

 Undersheriff J.D. “Will” Wilmeth

             Lea County Sheriff Office

Lovington, New Mexico (November 6, 2012) –The Lea County Sheriff Office is warning consumers of a new phone call scam from miscellaneous telephone numbers informing them they have won a large amount of money and a new car. The caller attempts to determine an address to deliver the prizes to and then instructs the consumer to go to Wal-Mart and purchase a secured credit card and call them back with the card number. The caller will re-assure the consumer that once the consumer reveals the card number to them, the prize money can be wired to the card number and the car will be delivered. Anyone receiving calls like this are urged to contact their phone provider and have the numbers blocked. For information on other types of frauds and scams that are occurring, readers are encouraged to go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website on internet crime at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud/ . This site maintains current information on reported internet fraud practices.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        SHERIFF MARK C. HARGROVE


Hobbs- On Thursday, October 25th, 2012 at approximately 3:00 p.m.  Deputies and Investigators from the Lea County Sheriff's Office responded to S.R. 529, mile marker 23, in reference to an unresponsive male. Upon arrival witnesses stated that they observed 49 year old ,Jesus Gaytan drive his vehicle onto a oilfield location, however he did not exit his vehicle after approx. 20 min. witnesses approached the vehicle and noticed Gaytan slumped over in the seat.  Witnesses reported that he was unresponsive and had no pulse. The Office of the Medical Investigators arrived on scene and pronounced Gaytan deceased. Gaytan's body will be sent to Albuquerque for an autopsy. Investigators are still investigating the cause of death.   All suspicious deaths are investigated as homicides until the cause is determined. No further information will be released as of this report. 

October 4, 2012
 To: All Media Outlets 
 From:  Major J.D. “Will” Wilmeth
Lea County Sheriff’s Office
(575) 396-8202 
 Lovington, New Mexico (October 4, 2012) – Sheriff Mark Hargrove recently received a letter from the Office of the Attorney General of New Mexico informing him the agency’s Biased-Based Policing Policy was in full compliance with New Mexico state statute, meaning the agency is committed to conducting its duties in a manner that is free of illegal bias and prejudice. During the last year, Sheriff Hargrove and his staff have been working diligently to build policies and procedures merging the agency’s role as protector of individual liberties with its role as the primary conservator of the peace within Lea County. Together with Undersheriff Jim Wilmeth and the entire Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Hargrove drafted a set of policies and procedures integrating the protection of Constitutional Rights as a fundamental building block in the department’s overall philosophy and its daily operations. Sheriff’s Office employees perform their tasks with six values in mind: Efficiency, Integrity, Compassion, Respect, Dedication and Accountability, and focus their efforts through Constitutional, statutory and practical guidelines. The Sheriff and staff are very encouraged by this review, and believe it confirms the employees are building a Sheriff’s Office based in values shared in common with the residents of Lea County.

09/18/2012                                                                                                     Sheriff Mark C. Hargrove

HOBBS- On Monday at approximately 9:14 P.M. The Lea County Sheriff's Department was contacted by the Hobbs Police Department, in reference to assistance with a traffic crash at the intersection of Marland and Cochran in Hobbs , NM. Upon arrival It was reported by the Hobbs Police that an officer observed a vehicle matching the description of a vehicle involved in a hit and run crash involving injuries a few minutes prior. The  Officer initiated his emergency equipment and the small blue suspect vehicle fled and refused to stop.  The Officer pursued the vehicle for a short distance, then discontinued the pursuit. The suspect vehicle continued on and collided with another vehicle in the intersection of Marland and Cochran. All parties involved in the crash were transported for medical attention, none of the injuries appear to be life threatening.  The incident is being investigated by the Lea County Sheriff's Department, New Mexico State Police and Motor Transportation Police.  The investigation is continuing, and no enforcement action has been enforced as of report time. No names will be released until the investigation is complete.


To: Regional Media                                                                           From: Sheriff Mark C. Hargrove

Lovington- In the last few days, I have received several calls and emails regarding the sales tactics of the Vivint Home Security Company. It has been reported to me that the Vivint Company is back in the Lea County area at the Sheriff's Office request, this is a false statement. The Sheriff's Office does not endorse or recommend any company. The reporting citizens also stated that the sales representative stated that houses in the neighborhoods have been burglarized and that one family "had to face the intruder head on" again this is a false statement. A records inquiry was made in a particular area in North Hobbs where I am receiving calls from. No recent burglary reports have been taken and there have been no recent home invasions.

The Lea County Sheriff's Department is committed to the welfare and safety of our citizens, and do recommend home security systems however we will not endorse or recommend a provider.

I attempted to contact Vivints Corporate office and express my concerns, and they would not even afford me the opportunity to speak to a supervisor.  The customer service representative said he would pass the information along and contact a local supervisor in order to stop the false allegations and not use the Lea County Sheriff's Department in their sales tactics. 



For Immediate Release

Lovington, New Mexico (July 27, 2012) -Lea County Sheriffs Deputies, in cooperation with Deputy United States Marshals and agents from the N.M. Attorney General Office's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force have completed Operation Complete Clean Up, a local operation focused on assuring the registration compliance of convicted sexual offenders required to register with the Sheriffs Office. Ninety-six (96) compliance checks were conducted county wide beginning Monday, July 23,2012 and ending today, Friday, July 27, 2012. The operation consisted of three teams who made direct contact with offender registrants to determine whether they were in compliance with their statutory requirements. The teams, comprised of one LCSO Deputy, one Attorney General's ICAC Unit Agent and two United States Deputy Marshals, conducted compliance checks on the registered sex offenders in Lea County. The operation resulted in 96 compliance confirmations; 8 compliance confirmations for individuals who were on probation or parole with NM Adult Probation and Parole and were also registered sexual offenders; 27 forensic examinations of electronic storage devices conducted by the Attorney General's ICAC Agents; 7 arrest warrants issued for violations of provisions of the Sex Offender Registration Act, 5 of which have been served, and the service of two additional, non-related arrest warrants issued from the New Mexico Office of Adult Probation and Parole. Persons arrested on warrants for violating the Sex Offender Registry provisions include Jose Elmore (29) of Lovington; Willie Howard (62); Carey Knapp (43); and Juan Pinto (38), all from Hobbs. Marco Ramirez (33), an absconder from Eddy County, was also found and arrested in Hobbs. Maylene DeLeon (32) and Fabian Estrada both of Hobbs were arrested on Adult Probation and Parole warrants.

Random operations of this type are anticipated throughout fiscal year 2012 -2013 to ensure compliance with the Sex Offender Registry. Individuals can access the statewide NM Sex Offender Registry at


Persons can also access the Offender Watch website at


Click to see the KRQE news cast on Lea County Sheriff's Office use of our Aviation Program in Oil Field Thefts

For Immediate Release

Lovington, New Mexico (.July 24, 2012) -The Lea County Sheriff Office is warning consumers of a new credit card scheme offering VISA gift cards. The most recently reported attempt involved an offer of a free $1000.00 VISA gift card given on behalf of the Lea County Sheriffs Office or other law enforcement agencies. The originating email address is from a site in the United Kingdom and is a scam. Individuals receiving this email or emails similar to it should be aware that public agencies such as Sheriff's Departments or Police Departments will not solicit information in this way or offer items such as this to individuals. Anyone receiving emails like this are urged to contact their email provider and the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. Chief District Court Judge Gary Clingman has also asked that Lea County residents contact the District Court Clerk directly regarding any emails or texts they receive informing them they are in contempt of court for failing to appear as jurors. The District Courts do not use this form of notification. For information on the types of Internet frauds and scams that are occurring, readers are encouraged to go to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's website on Internet crime at http://wwwJbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internetfraud/.This site maintains current information on reported Internet fraud practices.



Lovington, New Mexico (July 17, 2012) -The Lea County Sheriff Office substation in Hobbs has moved to its new building located at 3720 W. College Lane, in Hobbs. This is also the new mailing address for the substation. The new direct phone number is (575) 397-9600. Persons needing to contact the substation directly are asked to use this number beginning on July 18, 2012. The old substation located on Dal Paso Street is being renovated for use by other County Departments and will no longer have any Sheriff Office personnel in it.



Lovington, New Mexico (July 17,2012) - The Honorable Judge Gary L.Clingman  Cheif Judge for the 5th  Judicial District of New Mexico and Lea County Sheriff Mark Hargrove are warning the public that many people are receiving a text message stating their name has been seen on a list in the courthouse or a local newspaper reporting they have failed to appear for jury duty. This is a SCAM. Please be aware the District Court will not publicize a juror's failure to appear. Jurors are notified by phone or U.S. Mail for failure to appear issues. Ifyou receive a text message of this type, do not reply to the text message. As always, be careful of your identity and make sure you know who you are sharing information with. If anyone has questions regarding this type of text, please contact the Jury Clerk Shannon Carter at (575) 396-8571, or Major J.D. Wilmeth at (575) 396-8202.


From: J.D. "Will" Wilmeth Undersheriff, Lea County Sheriff's Office  


Lovington, New Mexico (July 16, 2012) -Lea County Sheriff Mark Hargrove has announced the promotion of a number of employees within the ranks to new positions of responsibility and the lateral transfers of some of the employees to new duties intended to widen their experience and skills. Deputies Victor Hernandez, Travis Carlson, Vicente Garcia and Rex Fleetwood were selected for Corporal. Corporals Mike Tovar and Kelly Brown were both promoted to Sergeant. These selections were made after a rigorous process including a file review, practical exercises, a written test and a promotion board comprised of Command staff. Additionally, Criminal Investigations Sergeant John Gaskins was appointed to Lieutenant, Lieutenant Jon Martinez was appointed to Captain and Captain J.D. "Will" Wilmeth was appointed Undersheriff. Lateral transfers included the transfer of Sergeant Jason Daugherty to the Criminal Investigations Detachment, the transfer of Sergeant Mike Rodriguez to the Courts and Civil shift, and Sergeant Jaime Moon's transfer to a patrol shift. The Sheriff wished to commend everyone for their hard work and dedication to the people of Lea County.

Click here to download The Hobbs News Sun article from July 13,2012



Lovington, New Mexico (July 3, 2012) -Lea County Sheriff's Investigators are looking into the circumstances surrounding the discovery of what are believed to be partial human remains found near the caprock in western Lea County. Approximately 2:52 PM on July 2, 2012, Investigators responded to an area along the caprock north of Maljamar and met with oilfield workers who had located the remains while taking a break from their work. Upon searching the area, Investigators recovered the partial remains along with items of personal property located in close proximity to the site. The remains appeared to have been in the area for a considerable time. The remains are being taken to the Office ofthe Medical Investigator in Albuquerque to confirm whether they are human and to attempt identification. Investigators are presently researching reports of missing persons and records entries with other departments for information. Persons believing they have information regarding these remains are asked to contact Investigators with the Sheriff's Office, or call CRIMESTOPPERS at (575) 393-8005. No other information is available at this time and no photographs are being released as the incident is being investigated as a possible homicide until evidence suggests otherwise.

Captain JD " Will" Wilmeth

Contact Number:  Main Office(575)396-3611




Lovington, New Mexico (June 27, 2012) -Lea County Sheriffs deputies have arrested Alfredo Villalobos (19), Joshua Brian Wright (20), and Daniella M. Calvillo-Tabor (19), from Hobbs, in connection with the death of Kenny J. Parks Jr. (19) also of Hobbs. Mr. Parks was stabbed during an incident which occurred at 1211 S. Landfill Road, during the early morning hours of June 26, 2012. Alfredo Villalobos has been arrested on an open count of Murder and is being held on $1,000,000 cash bond. Joshua Wright and Daniella Calvillo-Tabor were arrested for Tampering with Evidence; each is being held on $5,000 cash bonds. The investigation is continuing and anyone who has information on this crime is asked to contact Investigator Jim Broom or Sergeant John Gaskins at (575) 396-3611, or call CRIMESTOPPERS at (575) 393-1328. Sheriffs Investigators are following up on several leads and additional interviews are anticipated. For this reason, no further information will be released at this time.

For Immediate Release

Lovington, New Mexico(June 26, 2012)-Lea County Sheriff's Deputies responded to an address on Landfill Road, east of Hobbs, early this morning in responses to a 911 call regarding an injured male. Upon their arrival, they located a man who appeared to have been stabbed in the upper chest. The man was transported by Hobbs Fire EMS to Lea Regional Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries. As a result of preliminary investigation, Sheriff's Investigators are following up on several leads and additional interviews are anticipated. For this reason, no further information will be released at this time.



Lovington, New Mexico (June 21,2012) -Lea County Sheriffs Deputies arrested three Hobbs residents after becoming engaged in a vehicle pursuit near the community of Knowles. Deputy Kevin Hamby was on patrol north of Hobbs when he stopped to check a suspicious vehicle parked at a barn off Bensing Road. He noticed the barn door appeared to have been forced open and began to search the area. While doing this, he saw an individual run from the barn and get into the vehicle, which fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Deputy Hamby initiated his emergency lights and siren and attempted to catch the fleeing vehicle which was traveling at speeds up to 105 miles an hour. Deputy Hamby was assisted in the pursuit by Investigator Jeff Gray and Deputy Chad Scroggins. The driver, identified as Tab Brady (22), eventually stopped the vehicle in an alley near La Mesa Street and was taken into custody by Deputy Hamby. Two other individuals, identified as John Watkins (23) and Haily Brady (27), fled the vehicle on foot and hid in the bed of a pick-up truck where they were found and taken into custody by Investigator  Gray and Deputy Scroggins. Tab Brady, Watkins and Haily Brady have been charged with Breaking and Entering, Burglary, Possession of Burglary Tools and Aggravated Fleeing. In addition, Watkins and Haily Brady were charged with Resisting, Evading or Obstructing an Officer.

June 14, 2012
To:       All Media Outlets 
 From:   Captain J.D. “Will” Wilmeth Lea County Sheriff Department
  Lovington, New Mexico (June 14, 2012) – Lea County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Phillips celebrated the first milestone of his career with Lea County after graduating from the Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy on June 13, 2012 as the academy’s Distinguished Graduate. Kyle was also the recipient of the academy’s coveted top shooter award and received the academic excellence award as well. Kyle has been with the department just over one year and recently moved back to Lea County after living in Alaska. He graduated from Hobbs High School in 1997, and is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
The entire Lea County Sheriff’s Department family congratulates Kyle on his accomplishments and wishes to express their appreciation to his family for their support during his training. His efforts reflect great credit on himself, his family, and the Lea County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Mark Hargrove and Deputy Phillips

May 21, 2012

To: All Media Outlets

From: Captain J.D. "Will" Wilmeth Lea County Sheriff Department


Lovington, New Mexico (May 21, 2012) -Lea County Sheriffs Department Sergeant Jason Daugherty and Deputy Kevin Hamby arrested Jesus Arenivas of Lovington and Paul Litty Jr, of Hobbs early this morning after a pursuit which at times exceeded 100 mph. While on patrol, Deputy Hamby observed a green Chevrolet pickup backed up to a pump jack. When Deputy Hamby approached the vehicle to see what the occupants were doing, the driver left the scene at a high rate of speed across the pasture towards Catchings Road and then onto Stiles Road. Deputy Hamby activated his emergency lights and siren and pursued the vehicle. The vehicle left the roadway while in the 8400 block of Stiles, continued through a fence and came to a stop. Both the driver and passenger fled on foot. Deputy Hamby was able to catch the driver (later identified as Litty) and place him under arrest while Sergeant Daugherty located and arrested the passenger (identified as Arenivas). Investigation established probable cause that Litty and Arenivas stole a quantity of copper wire from the area around the pump jack and damaged oilfield property. The total amount recovered is estimated in excess of$1500.00, with over $3000.00 worth of criminal damage. Arenivas has been charged with Larceny over $500.00, Criminal Damage to Property in Excess of $1 000.00, Aggravated Fleeing, Resisting, Evading and Obstructing an Officer, and Parties to a Crime. Litty has been charged with Larceny over $500.00, Criminal Damage to Property in Excess of $1000.00, Aggravated Fleeing, Resisting, Evading and Obstructing an Officer, and was found to be a Fugitive from Justice out of Yoakum County, Texas. He was also charged with Aggravated DWl and had a municipal court warrant out of Hobbs, New Mexico. Both men were booked into the Lea County Detention Facility. 

Direct Office Line: (575) 396-8203

Email at: jwilmeth@leacounty.net

 For Immediate Release

May 14th, 2012                                                                                     

Lovington- National Police week is May 13th, 2012, through May 19th, 2012.  In 1962 President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th, as Peace Officers Memorial Day, in which that date falls as Police week.

Deputies of the Lea County Sheriff's Department and agencies around the world travel to different locations across the Nation to planned events honoring those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

In honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, Deputies will wear a mourning ribbon across their badge through May 19th, 2012.

And please if you see an Officer or a Deputy working or if you know one, please take a moment to thank them for their commitment and Service to our great community.

Thank You,

Mark C. Hargrove,


                  CORRECTION TO MEDIA RELEASE ON APRIL 5, 2012


Lovington, New Mexico (April 4, 2012) -The Lea County Sheriffs Department reported the date Francisco Munoz of Lovington was arrested on charges of kidnapping as being October 11, 2011. This date was a typographical error. The accurate date of the arrest was on November 11, 2011. Physical evidence collected during an ongoing double homicide investigation provided leads which helped identify Munoz and a vehicle, described as a white compact car, which he and unidentified accomplices utilized in connection with the alleged kidnapping. At this time, Munoz's accomplices have not been identified. Investigators do not know how or if the parties knew of each other prior to the events under investigation.

Anyone having information regarding the kidnapping or homicides are asked to contact Sergeant John Gaskins, Lea County Sheriffs Department, at (575) 396-8281, or Lea County Crimestoppers at (575) 393-8005.




 March 27,2012

Press Release

 NM18 Speed Zone Changes, South side of Hobbs The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) has changed the speed zones on(StateRoad) NM18 on the south side of Hobbs.  The speed zones were reviewed and it was determined the 65 miles per hour speed zone should be lowered to 60 mph from 200' (Feet)South of NM18 and Stanolind Road to 2000'(feet) South of the truck bypass.   The new speed zones changes will improve highway safety as well as provide safer access to/from existing businesses along this busy stretch of NM18.  Motorists are asked to please drive carefully and observe posted speed limit signs.  The NMDOT is committed to the safety of the traveling public.  For up-to-date road construction information throughout the state, visit nmroads.com or call 511. Anyone with questions or comments regarding this project may contact Timothy Parker, P.E., District Two Traffic Engineer at (575) 637-7229.###

This was supplied to us through the New Mexico Department of Transportation. If you have any questions feel free to contact Lea County Sheriff's Department Capt. James Wilmeth (575)396-8200 Administration Line


Lovington- On March 23rd, 2012
 Sheriff Mark Hargrove and Executive Secretary Elizabeth Neff were honored by being invited to Jefferson Elementary to participate in their Community Reader program.  After the reading Sheriff Hargrove fielded several inquisitive questions from Carolyn Crawford's third grade class.  Sheriff Hargrove- " I think this is a wonderful opportunity to visit the children within the County, The Lovington School District has started a great community program and hope other districts within the County will allow our personnel to come to their school and participate in similar programs."  During a briefing with other members of the department, this program was discussed and Sheriff Hargrove had several requests from his Deputies that they too would like to get more involved in similar community activities. Any request from the community should be made to Captain James Wilmeth or Elizabeth Neff at 575-396-8200.  Again Thank You to the Staff at Jefferson Elementary for allowing us to come visit and interact with your students.



February 23, 2012

Sheriff Mark C. Hargrove  

Hobbs – On February 22nd 2012, Lea County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the Exxon Station just across the Stateline in reference to a gunshot victim.

Upon arrival Deputy Kelly Brown, contacted (victim) Chris Mullings (31) who had a gunshot wound to the abdomen. It was reported the shooting actually occurred in Lea County, New Mexico. 

Witnesses stated that Mullings and Chris Webb(35 yoa suspect)  had gotten into an altercation on the Highway and that Chris Webb had pulled out a pistol and shot Mullings in the stomach . Location of the incident was just west of mile marker 106 on 62-180 North of Hobbs. 

At 1:35 p.m. , Hobbs Police had located the suspect vehicle parked behind his residence in Hobbs. Members of the Lea County Sheriff’s Department and Hobbs Police S.W.A.T. teams approached the residence and took Webb into custody without incident.  

Motive was reported to be an altercation over a female. 

Chris Webb was transported and booked into Lea County Detention Center and is being held on a $13,000 Bond. 

Chris Mulling, as of this time of release is listed in stable condition in a Lubbock Hospital. 

Lea County Investigators are continuing the investigation; therefore no further information will be released at this time.