Espanola Police Department Chief Roger Jimenez accepts a plaque Friday morning from Special Agent in Charge James Langenberg of the Albuquerque FBI Division. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
James Langenberg, Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque FBI Division presented a plaque Friday to Espanola Police Department Chief Roger Jimenez in recognition of the Department’s assistance in apprehending a fugitive wanted since 1977.
Luis Archuleta, 77, had been residing in Española for approximately four decades under the alias Ramon Montoya. Archuleta, also known as Larry Pusateri, was convicted in 1973 of assault of a police officer with a deadly weapon.
“The people living in this city are fortunate: Public safety is Job One for the Española Police Department, and their mission is very similar to the FBI’s mission – protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution,” SAC Langenberg said. “It’s this intersection of mission that makes the Police Department and FBI’s partnership so strong – a partnership that has yielded much success and makes a very positive impact on the Espanola community”.
He said the award he was presenting to Chief Jimenez and the Espanola Police Department is a testament to that partnership. SAC Langenberg noted that in June of this year, the EPD received information from a private investigator who shared information regarding an individual living amongst the citizens of Espanola.
“This individual assaulted a Denver police officer back in 1973. He later escaped from a correctional facility in 1977 and has been on the lam for more than 40 years. He arrived in the Espanola, changed his name and lived an uneventful life. The day the EPD received this information they contacted the FBI through their task force officer and together we began corroborating the PI’s information,” he said. “From June until July of this year, we worked side by side to determine the information was accurate. We positively identified the fugitive who was living under an assumed name as the individual who escaped from the correctional facility four decades prior.”
On Aug. 5, the FBI Swat Team arrested Archuleta and returned him to Colorado on a federal warrant.
“This is just one example of the great partnership we have with EPD. They have been instrumental in preserving our reputation as ‘the FBI always gets their man’. Additionally, the EPD has assisted the FBI on many other cases, with arrests, drug seizures, and last year’s kidnapping. All told, the partnership has made Espanola community, much much safer,” SAC Langenberg said. “In fact the EPD was the first department in Northern New Mexico to join the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force out of our Santa Fe Resident Agency and they dedicated one of their officers over two years ago as a federal task force officer. When I heard Chief Jimenez was confirmed as the chief in June, I could not have been more pleased.”
SAC Langenberger later revealed that the private detective who was seeking Archuleta, was the officer Archuleta assaulted in 1973. The officer had retired from the Denver Police Department and continued his search for Archuleta.
The plaque presented to the Department reads:
“In July 2020, the Espanola Police Department’s superior efforts led to the capture of a long time violent fugitive after a 40 year man hunt. The Albuquerque Division of the FBI appreciates the Espanola Police Department’s longstanding partnership and dedication to the joint enforcement of local, state and federal laws which has made New Mexico great.”
“We appreciate the chance to collaborate with our federal partners, and to give closure to the victims involved in this specific incident,” Chief Jimenez said. “We appreciate the diligence and dedication of the agencies involved. I would like to send a special thanks to our Patrol Lt. Abraham Baca who coordinated with the agencies and did the footwork on the patrol side to catch the fugitive.”
Chief Jimenez said the priority of the Espanola Police Department is to “reclaim this beautiful valley for the citizens”.
“The community is tired of the criminal element thinking the Espanola Valley is a safe haven for them. This is the sort of effort our law enforcement agencies conduct day in and day out, and this is a great outcome for everyone involved, except for the fugitive,” he said.
According to FBI Public Affairs Officer Frank A. Fisher, the FBI’s partnership with EPD has led to a number of successful investigations, arrests and seizures in the Española Valley – operations that have made the city of Española, Rio Arriba County, and the adjacent Indian pueblos safer.
See FBI Aug. 5 news release published by the Los Alamos Reporter at https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/08/05/colorado-fugitive-wanted-for-decades-arrested-in-espanola/