A high-speed pursuit and a traffic stop a day later led to a felony arrest and the discovery of more than a half-pound of methamphetamine and additional 51 fentanyl pills in Rifle.
Rifle resident Miguel Lopez-Mares, 25, was arrested July 3 on felony unlawful possession with intent to distribute and several additional charges, after leading the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office on a two-day manhunt.
A Garfield County Sheriff’s Office deputy first made contact with Lopez-Mares during a traffic stop July 2. An arrest affidavit states that Lopez-Mares was driving a vehicle with three passengers when a deputy tried pulling him over for having a license plate that did not match its make and model. Lopez-Mares, however, kept going and led the deputy on a high-speed pursuit through south Rifle.
The sedan eventually turned off all its lights and came to an abrupt stop, and Lopez-Mares allegedly took off running toward a culvert while sheriff’s deputies and assisting Rifle police officers held the three remaining suspects at gunpoint. The remaining suspects were arrested without incident and interrogated, while an ensuing search of the vehicle revealed multiple bags of meth totaling 60.18 grams, hypodermic needles and other drug paraphernalia, the affidavit states.
Lopez-Mares successfully evaded a pursuing deputy on foot. The deputy, however, found a backpack that Lopez-Mares allegedly discarded during the foot pursuit containing 173.98 grams of confirmed meth.
“Inside the backpack was another large bag of white crystal substance,” the affidavit states. “There was also multiple bags with red and pink hearts on them.”
An officer with experience on a gang unit said Miguel-Lopez was a member of the Sureno/KTA gangs known by his alias “Joker,” which was corroborated during officers’ questioning of the passengers. Lopez-Mares had 10 warrants out for his arrest, including three felony warrants.
Just after 5 p.M. July 3, two Rifle police officers on patrol followed a van with no license plates into the Lion’s Park Circle rest area and initiated a traffic stop. Knowing the physical description of Lopez-Mares identified the night before, the officer discovered the man sitting in the back of the van trying to conceal his face with a white shirt the driver handed to him, the affidavit states.