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Alleged Detention Center escapee held pending trial

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Daniel Cobos

A local judge ruled Oct. 8 that the case of a man charged with escaping from the Chaves County Detention Center will head to trial in district court and that the man will remain in custody pending trial.

Following a concurrent pretrial and preliminary hearing Oct. 8 in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County, Judge Jared Kallunki granted a motion by the District Attorney’s Office that 37-year-old Daniel Cobos remain in custody until after his trial on one count of escape or attempt to escape from jail, or until otherwise ordered by the court.

Kallunki also determined at the hearing that based on testimony and evidence, probable cause exists to believe that on the night of Oct. 3, Cobos escaped from the Detention Center. Cobos was later found and arrested the next night after an hours-long standoff with law enforcement.

In her closing argument, Taylor Jaggers, deputy district attorney, explained the nature of the charge against Cobos, combined with his history of felony charges, probation violations and past failures to appear in court demonstrate that he would be unlikely to abide by any conditions of release.

According to the state’s motion, at the time of the alleged escape Cobos was awaiting trial in several cases, including a May 2021 charge of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, for which Cobos was initially released on his own recognizance.

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He was then arrested again in July on two counts each of attempted armed robbery and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer in connection with another incident and was later released on $1,500 cash or surety bond.

Cobos in August was arrested a third time and released on $15,000 cash or surety bond. He was later arrested again for violating his conditions of release.

Ira Shiflett, Cobos’ attorney, said that before the escape he had been actively working to get his client into a drug rehabilitation program.

“We ask that the court set appropriate conditions of release in this case,” he said.

At the Oct. 8 hearing, the prosecution called two witnesses and showed two surveillance videos of Cobos from the detention center.

The first witness, Lt. Clint McClain, of the Chaves County Detention Center, testified that he was on duty on the night of Oct. 3 when at 9:20 p.m. he was advised that Cobos was not in his living area.

“I was notified that they could not find Mr. Cobos at that time,” he said.

McClain said he spent the next hour confirming that Cobos was not taken somewhere else by Detention Center personnel. He added that he later found that Cobos had escaped the Detention Center through a hole in the ceiling of a utility closet.

Detention Center staff later that night contacted the Pecos Valley Communications Center about a possible escape by Cobos, prompting deputies to conduct a search of the area in and around the Detention Center.

The search, which soon expanded outward to include all of Roswell and surrounding areas, was soon joined by personnel from the Roswell Police Department and New Mexico State Police.

Edward Garcia, an agent with the New Mexico State Police, testified at the pretrial detention hearing that the next day at about 5:45 p.m., State Police observed Cobos heading north on Main Street in a U-Haul pickup truck.

Charles Yslas, Chaves County undersheriff, said on Oct. 5 that deputies later spotted the vehicle at a 2200 block of Portales Road residence north of Roswell.

After trying without success to contact the individuals who resided at the address, deputies called for them to come out.

The residents eventually exited the house and verified that Cobos was inside. His refusal to surrender to law enforcement prompted a lengthy standoff with the fugitive in which deputies, Roswell police and State Police personnel were also involved.

Cobos at one point was seen standing on the roof of the house armed with a knife before climbing back inside the house.

Garcia said gas canisters were deployed twice in a failed attempt to drive Cobos from the house.

Following the second attempt, Garcia testified that members of the RPD SWAT team entered the house where they saw Cobos in a backroom, allegedly holding a knife and an airsoft rifle.

Cobos was disarmed and taken into custody.

Yslas said on Oct. 5 that Cobos was taken to Eastern New Mexico Medical Center where he was checked before being transported back to the Chaves County Detention Center.

Electronic court records state that Cobos’ arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 25.

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

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