Robert J. Marquez, a wanted violent felon thought to sell and abuse drugs, led Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office personnel on a 25-mile car chase reaching speeds of 105 mph on Nov. 29.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, a deputy and detective pursued Marquez, 37, eastbound from a home on the 20000 block of County Road N, northbound on County Roads 29 and 30 and then eastbound on Colorado Highway 184, ending on East Sunset Drive in Mancos, where Marquez was apprehended. He faces multiple felony charges.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin said no one was injured during the chase. With two emergency vehicles behind him, Marquez allegedly drove at speeds between 70 mph and 90 mph and ran several stop signs on county roads and then increased his speed to 105 mph on Colorado Highway 184 from Dolores to Mancos. He drove on the wrong side of the road at times, a deputy’s report said.
“He was driving in a very reckless manner,” Nowlin said.
According to a Sheriff’s Office incident report, a department email was sent to staff earlier on Nov. 29 informing all officers that Marquez was known to be in Cortez. Nowlin said deputies had received tips from residents regarding Marquez’s arrival in Cortez.
Marquez had an active felony warrant for parole violation in El Paso County. He was known to have violent tendencies, according to the incident report, and deputies believed he might have been armed and wearing body armor. Marquez was also believed to be a member of the SUR 13 gang, loosely affiliated groups that pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia while in prison.
Hours after the departmental email was sent, Mary A. Wall, 57, allegedly texted an MCSO Drug Task Force detective and offered him a sale of $350 worth of meth. The detective stated that he knew Wall from previous contacts and believed she has been involved in drug sales in Montezuma County for several years. He suspected Wall confused his number with someone she has sold meth to in the past.
An MCSO sergeant, deputy and detective at 11 p.m. initiated a “felony stop” at the City Market parking lot, where Wall had arranged the alleged sale. They detained Wall and Sheila M. Randolph, 46, and found a bag of meth on the floorboard of a red Dodge Ram pickup.
According to an incident report, Marquez is known as “Beaver.” Wall said she received the drugs from a man named Beaver, and Randolph said he was staying at their residence on County Road N and driving a white 2018 Ford Focus.
Wall was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a Class 3 drug felony, and possession of a controlled substance. Montezuma County Judge JenniLynn Lawrence set bond at $25,000 cash or surety. Randolph told officers that Wall asked her for a ride and she didn’t know anything about a drug deal. She was released without charges.
A detective and a deputy then attempted to locate Marquez and the Ford Focus. A detective observed Marquez exiting the home on County Road N. He then drove the Ford Focus eastbound. A detective attempted to stop the car, but Marquez failed to yield and sped off.
Twenty-five miles later, as the chase neared Mancos, two deputies set out stop sticks. The incident report states Marquez saw the two deputies ahead and then turned down East Sunset Drive in Mancos, which is a short, dead-end road. Marquez fled on foot, and two detectives and a deputy then contacted Marquez in a ditch about 75 yards from the road. He was placed in handcuffs.
A search revealed Marquez carried a small rubber container of meth and had $460 in his wallet. The 2018 Ford Focus was reported stolen two days earlier, on Nov. 27, by Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Colorado Springs.
Inside the vehicle, authorities found a glass meth pipe, two containers of an unknown “brownish white powdery substance,” a red hammer, multiple small plastic baggies, a bag containing 21.6 grams of marijuana, four cell phones, five syringes and two bags of Epsom salt, which can be used to cut meth. No firearms or body armor were recovered.
Marquez was booked into the Montezuma County Detention Center. According to court documents, he is charged with possession of a controlled substance between 7 grams and 112 grams with intent to distribute, a Class 2 drug felony; motor vehicle theft less than $20,000, a Class 5 felony; possession of burglary tools, a Class 5 felony; vehicular eluding, a Class 5 felony; and four habitual criminal sentence enhancers. He also faces a felony parole violation out of El Paso County.
Marquez has made three court appearances since the car crash, appearing by video from the county jail. Lawrence set his bond at $75,000 cash or surety and on Wednesday set a preliminary hearing for Marquez at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 16.