An Egnar man wanted on a warrant for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend and holding her hostage at gunpoint was arrested Dec. 2 by San Miguel County Sheriff deputies.
Aaron Joseph Gray, 35, is accused of misdemeanor and felony charges, including use of a controlled substance, menacing, domestic violence, prohibitive use of a weapon, assault and false imprisonment, according to the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office. Formal charges are pending.
When deputies approached to serve an arrest warrant, he fled and jumped a barbed wire fence before being apprehended.
Gray was arrested in connection with a Nov. 27 incident at an Egnar residence that triggered hostage negotiations with his girlfriend. She accused him of assault and for being held against her will in a barricaded bedroom.
About 1 p.m. the woman texted her friend to “please help. He did it again. He slammed me down . . . Please hurry. He threatened to shoot if the cops show up.”
According to the affidavit, the woman suffered back pain from the assault and had trouble breathing.
As tactical teams converged on the location, hostage negotiations were conducted from the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office between deputy Kattie Neesham and the injured woman.
Responding to a Neesham’s text, the girlfriend thought Gray had been using meth and said he had made suicide by cop statements. He threatened to kill her if she left the bedroom and sat in a chair with a loaded camouflage-colored shotgun on the other side of the door, according to the affidavit.
A man related to Gray also was in the home, but wasn’t involved in holding the victim at gunpoint, according to police reports. There reportedly were many guns inside the residence.
As deputies positioned themselves near the residence, Neesham helped the girlfriend devise a plan to escape. She was too injured to escape from the bedroom window but agreed to try and trick Gray into letting her take the dog out. When she peeked out the door, Gray had fallen asleep, and she fled the residence. The other man did not restrict her from leaving.
Deputies picked her up, and she was transported to a nearby hospital.
Because of the volatile situation and because the victim was safe, deputies disengaged from the scene. A SWAT team was assembled to arrest Gray five days later.
Before being held against her will, the injured woman alleged Gray punched her in the head during a disagreement, threw her on the ground, made threatening statements and placed her in a chokehold, according to the arrest affidavit.
Gray was jailed in San Miguel County jail with a no-bond hold, according to court records.
“This whole series of incidents stems from meth use,” said San Miguel Sheriff Bill Masters. People don’t seem to understand the certain road of ruin they will go down if they get on this drug.”
San Juan County, Utah Sheriff’s office also assisted in the case.
Other local crime casesAll four defendants charged by the U.S. attorney with illegal manufacturing, possession and distribution of marijuana on properties in Montezuma have pleaded guilty.In November, Sang Teng pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute more than 100 plants; Jimmy Dang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 1,000 plants; and Qi Lin Wu plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute 1,000 or more plants. In August, Yang pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 or more marijuana plants. Sentences will be handed down in coming months.
In June, Montezuma County Sheriff Deputies and DEA agents conducted a coordinated drug raid across Montezuma County. They arrested multiple suspects on drug-related charges. Four suspects were convicted, and one case was dismissed, according to the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Ronald Wolfe pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to two years in the Department of Corrections.Jesus Flores pleaded guilty to cultivation of more than 30 marijuana plants. He is awaiting sentencing.Roy Neskahi pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. He is serving a 12-month sentence at Hilltop House (Community Corrections) in Durango.Erica Lopez pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance under a “deferred judgment and sentence.” Sentencing is forthcoming.The case against Austin Depenbrock was dismissed.