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Crime Watch report

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Aug 12, 2023 

Judge finds probable cause for trial in Patterson Road shooting case

The case against a man accused of shooting a rifle at cars and police officers will proceed after a judge found probable cause for the charges Friday.

Michael Viegas, 30, of Grand Junction, was arrested in January after an incident in which police said more than 20 shots were fired in the area of Patterson Road and Northern Way. No injuries were reported.

Grand Junction Police Detective Brett Boyer testified during a preliminary hearing Friday that he saw Viegas on the patio of his apartment with a rifle in a position where it could be pointing at three nearby officers.

“I believe he was looking for targets,” Boyer, who was riding in a SWAT Team vehicle while searching for the source of multiple gun shots at the time, said.

Boyer said it looked like the officers were in danger of being killed or seriously injured.

Defense attorney Kimberly Van Dyke said there is no evidence Viegas’ intent was to threaten officers.

Judge Valerie Robison said there doesn’t have to be a statement of intent for there to be a threat, and there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

Officers positioned the SWAT Team vehicle in front of Viegas’ apartment, and he was eventually taken into custody, Boyer said.

While he was being taken into custody, Viegas smelled of alcohol and kept asking officers questions about what they were doing there.

Boyer testified that he later interviewed Viegas at Community Hospital, and Viegas said he was attempting to bore sight in a rifle by aiming it at a streetlight. Viegas also said he didn’t shoot either of his rifles and didn’t hear any shots fired.

Police did not find any of the necessary equipment for bore sighting the rifle, and when Boyer saw Viegas on the patio, the rifle wasn’t in a proper position for bore sighting.

GJPD Detective Kristine Gregory testified that during subsequent jail phone calls Viegas has admitted to shooting his rifle but said he didn’t want to kill anyone.

Viegas is charged with attempted first-degree murder with extreme indifference to human life, as well as attempted first-degree murder of a police officer.

Gregory and Boyer both testified that other officers aired over the radio shots seemingly being fired near their locations.

“It was a fraction of a trigger pull away from this being an even worse situation than it was,” Gregory said.

Gregory also said factors like location, time of day and multiple round bursts being shot point to extreme indifference in this case.

Viegas is being held at the Mesa County Jail on a $1 million bond. Arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 19.



A man who police said was carrying an estimated 60,000 suspected fentanyl pills in a car he was traveling in has been sentenced to three years in the Department of Corrections.

Henry Espinal-Meza-31, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. Other possession and importation charges were dropped.

Espinal-Meza was stopped in November by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office near Fruita on Interstate 70, according to police, for having illegal license places.

A search of Espinal-Meza’s car turned up the fentanyl, as well as five ounces of cocaine and a large sum of cash, police said.


Montrose police say Red Rock Auto fraud suspect is no longer a cadet

Aug 12, 2023 

The Montrose Police Chief said the woman arrested on multiple charges while working as finance director at Red Rock GMC is no longer a cadet recruit for the police department.

Tiffany M. Miller has been charged with forgery, criminal impersonation and identity theft after being accused of impersonating customers in phone calls and on bank documents.

During the fraud investigation, Miller told investigators that she was a recruit for the Montrose Police Department.

Police Chief Blaine Hall told the Montrose Daily Press on Friday that Miller was a former cadet with the agency but was terminated when they learned of the investigation.

“She was not a police officer,” he added. “Once we were informed of the criminal investigation, we conducted an internal investigation of our own based on the Grand Junction Police Department investigation and she was subsequently terminated.”

Blaine was also extremely forthcoming about his belief that Red Rock management tried to mislead the police department when Miller applied to be a police officer.

“To be very clear, the Montrose Police Department believes that the management of Red Rock intentionally misled the MPD background investigator during Miller’s hiring process,” Blaine said. “We have documentation from Red Rock that clearly states Miller was eligible for rehire and they gave Miller a positive recommendation.”

According to the arrest affidavit, Miller’s personnel file at Red Rock GMC lists the reason for her departure as termination because of a company policy violation.

According to the arrest affidavit, police were alerted to the case in September 2022, when two people reached out to the Grand Junction Police Department saying they had been victims of fraud during the process of buying a Dodge Durango from Red Rock GMC.

No one from Red Rock Auto has replied for requests for comment or to offer a statement.

Blaine said it’s a relief this case came to light before Miller was hired.

“I’m happy we discovered this now, versus when she was potentially a full fledged police officer,” he said.


Man set for trial in 2011 Taco Bell killing

Aug 16, 2023 

A trial date has been set for a man police believe was part of a one-day gang-related crime spree in 2011 that resulted in the killing of 31-year-old Jorge Alberto Carrasco outside the Taco Bell at 859 North Ave.

Jaime Cardenas, who was 19 at the time of the alleged crime spree, was arrested in Mexico and extradited to the U.S. in 2019 on charges of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and other charges. District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told The Daily Sentinel at the time of the extradition Mesa County officials had been working on extraditing Cardenas since July 2014.

At the time of the arrest, he was also wanted in connection with a 2011 murder in East Palo Alto, California.

Cardenas is one of four people police believe were involved in the killing.

Christian Fuentes was sentenced to 72 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and other charges. Lester Miranda-Davis was sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder and other charges. Another suspect, Fidel Silva, is still at large.

In addition to the killing of Carrasco, the crime spree is also believed to have included armed robberies at Wells Fargo and Teller Arms Liquors, and the burglary of a home on the 2600 block of Chestnut Ct.

Cardenas’s trial is scheduled to start Feb. 6, 2024. Scheduling the trial was delayed during the process as the court waited for Cardenas to be found competent to stand trial.



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