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After 7-Year Hunt, Local Fugitive Arrested

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An article was released by the Carlsbad Current-Argus that made statewide news in New Mexico. A bail bond agent captured a fugitive who had been on the run for seven years. The article expresses why private bail is important to all communities. It also shows how bail bond agents are more efficient in substantially lowering forfeiture rates over release on own recognizance or pretrial release.   

CARLSBAD — It took seven years and eight arrest warrants to land this woman in the Eddy County Detention Center.
Along the way, she allegedly used eight aliases - at least the ones known to law enforcement - to avoid being jailed.

But Monday at her arraignment in Carlsbad, District Court Judge Tom Rutledge ordered Cynthia Monica Espinoza Hernandez held without bond. She's wanted here for forgery; then courts in McKinley County, San Juan County and Clayton will be waiting their turn to prosecute Hernandez for forgery, fraud, larceny and ... oh yes, concealing identity.

Hernandez came onto the radar for Carlsbad police in 2009, when she was arrested for shoplifting. Although she racked up another charge in the incident - signing a false name to the store's trespass warning - she avoided jail time by entering a pre-prosecution diversion program.

She failed to comply with the program and was terminated, then missed a court hearing in March this year.

That got the attention of her bondsman, Jim Smith at A Best Bail Bonds.

Smith said that when A Best staff began looking for Hernandez, they found she was reportedly wanted in several places under several names.

She had reportedly been evading law enforcement since 2004, when a felony warrant was issued in Gallup.

"She has been arrested numerous times," Smith said, "but was always able to give an alias and a different date of birth, which made detecting her true identity virtually impossible for law enforcement."

As had reportedly happened in the past, Hernandez was booked and released before law enforcement realized who they had in custody.

The Carlsbad bond company learned from an informant that Hernandez had been arrested in Gallup on March 28, using the name Jasmine Lopez.

When Gallup police recognized the alias as one used there some four years ago, they arrested her on a traffic warrant. She then posted a $200 cash bond and walked away from jail once again.

Smith and two other men went to Gallup and located the home where Hernandez was staying.

With the help of several employees of a Gallup bondsman, they surrounded the house.

That's when this story takes on the drama and action of a TV reality show, Smith said.

Hernandez reportedly first tried to climb out a bathroom window, but was met by a man with a Taser and quickly retreated.

Then, as Smith and others gathered around the front door, the fugitive ran out the back door. Fortunately, one of the group was there and Hernandez was captured - for the moment.

She was handcuffed and placed in the back seat of a car, with her seatbelt snuggly fastened.

In seconds, Smith said, Hernandez was out of her restraints, out of the car and running.

A foot chase followed, and Smith was able to chase her down after several blocks.

This time, shackles were placed on her ankles, and her handcuffs were secured to a belly chain.

Now in custody at the Eddy County Detention Center, Hernandez has had a hold placed on her by federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement. A Mexican national, born in Juarez, she faces deportation when U.S. courts are done with her prosecution, Smith said.

That could take a while. Detention center officials confirmed Tuesday that they have been contacted by a number of other jurisdictions who also may have charges pending against Hernandez.

Original Article: Carlsbad Current-Argus
After 7-year hunt, local fugitive arrested
By Martha Mauritson
Current-Argus Managing Editor