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It turns out a Florida fugitive was the reason police were driving in the area of 43rd Street and Trinity Drive Thursday afternoon when they happened upon a drug deal in motion.
“We had information that Cody Sanderson was in that neighborhood. He is wanted in Florida on multiple charges including a second degree felony for selling stolen property,” Det. Shari Mills said. “We didn’t find him until hours later after we had observed the drug sale.”
Benjamin Doggett, 18, of Los Alamos was arrested Thursday at the scene and charged with distribution of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Detectives observed him selling a bag of marijuana to Zachary Hill in front of the home near 43rd Street and Trinity Drive.
Hill, 19, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana. Detectives witnessed Hill as a passenger in a vehicle driven by Austin Prince, 19, of Los Alamos. Doggett came out of the home and detectives witnessed the drug and money exchange, then approached the vehicle.
Prince was charged with possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and minor in possession of alcohol. He was issued a summons to appear in court. A consent search of the home revealed drug paraphernalia, Mills said.
Det. Sgt. Fred Rascon recently took charge of the Los Alamos Police Department’s investigation unit. He arrived at the scene shortly after the arrests were underway.
“This was a great team effort with detectives and patrol officers working together. I’m very proud of my detectives for being observant and spotting the drug deal and I’m very proud of the patrol officers for acting upon information they had received,” Rascon said.
At about 12:45 a.m. Saturday, Cpl. Adam Jung responded to a report of what sounded like four or five people arguing outside a home on 37th Street. The street appeared quiet when he arrived.
According to the police report, Jung noticed a Ford Explorer had a broken driver’s side window. He also observed a black Chevrolet Trailblazer, in which the dome light was on. Jung approached the Chevrolet and observed that it had no registration plate. As he was recording the vehicle identification number, the dome light went off, leading him to believe that the vehicle had recently been occupied.
Jung approached the front door of 1602 37th St. and heard what sounded like people running through the house, according to the police report. Before he could knock and announce his presence, a female exited the front door. She was holding a napkin over her mouth and appeared to have been crying. She stated that she had been sprayed with mace and allowed the officer to enter her home. Also in the home were another woman and two men. A third man was said to be hiding in the house.
Jung located Justin Stone, 33, of Los Alamos hiding in a closet in a back bedroom. Stone also appeared to be crying and stated that he was sprayed with mace as well. It turned out that Stone was on probation through Los Alamos Magistrate Court and also had an outstanding District Court warrant. He appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and did admit to consuming alcohol when questioned, according to the report.
Paramedics were dispatched to the scene to evaluate Stone and the homeowner for their claim of being maced. Stone also was treated for two minor head wounds, according to the report. He stated that he and Sanderson got into a fight and that another man maced him and the homeowner.
Sgt. Jason Herrera placed Stone under arrest and transported him to the Los Alamos County Detention Facility.
In written statements by some of the people involved, a feud broke out earlier in the evening at the Conoco Gas Station on Arkansas Street. Sanderson reportedly beat up Stone who was in the back seat of a vehicle belonging to the homeowner.
Conoco employee Gus Ferris, 22, and two other employees were involved, according to the report. Ferris maced the homeowner while Sanderson beat up Stone in the back seat of the homeowner’s car. He also kicked and dented the back passenger door of her car.
They returned to the home on 37th Street, according to the report. A white Ford Ranger with Sanderson, Ferris and two others from Conoco showed up at the home and reportedly threatened them.
Ferris was charged with two counts of battery and three counts of assault and issued a summons to appear in court.
Sanderson remains a suspect in the ongoing investigation. He was later arrested on the outstanding warrant from Bay County Florida for which he is in jail awaiting extradition.