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Man pleads not guilty to battery, drug charges

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A man from Dexter who allegedly threw a bag of methamphetamine into a police officer’s face and body during a January traffic stop has pleaded not guilty to three criminal counts.

Salvador Fuentes, 37, waived a reading of charges and entered a not guilty plea on one count each of battery upon a peace officer, tampering with evidence and possession of a controlled substance on March 29 during an arraignment in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County, according to court records.

Fuentes reportedly threw a bag of methamphetamine at a Roswell police officer during a Jan. 9 traffic stop, leaving traces of the substance on the officer’s uniform, taser and body camera.

Court filings state the officer, along with a member of the New Mexico Mounted Patrol, on Jan. 9 at 12:50 a.m. initiated a traffic stop in the area of Fourth and Main streets on a vehicle driven by Fuentes, and which had a broken taillight.

The officer approached the driver’s side of the vehicle, while the mounted patrol officer stood on the passenger side. When Fuentes opened the driver’s side door to speak with the Roswell Police Department officer, the mounted patrol officer informed the RPD officer that there was a clear bag of a white crystalline substance between the front seats.

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When the RPD officer asked Fuentes what the bag contained, court documents state Fuentes allegedly threw the bag into the officer’s face and said, “I’m not going to let you take me to jail for that.” Fuentes was removed from the vehicle and detained.

Court documents state Fuentes then told the officer he had “messed up today” and admitted the substance was methamphetamine, but that he was not trying to hit the officer when he threw it out the window.

Fuentes consented to a search of the vehicle. Several rocks and pieces of methamphetamine, along with a glass smoking device, were allegedly discovered in and around the vehicle before Fuentes ordered officers to stop the search. The search was then halted and the vehicle seized for a search warrant.

Court records state Fuentes received a one year and six month suspended sentence for drug-related offenses in 2016.

Fuentes is currently out on $25,000 bond while awaiting trial. On March 29, Judge Jared Kallunki scheduled Fuentes’ trial for Sept. 15.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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