Melrose bank robbed, four in custody

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Deputies arrested four armed suspects at 10 a.m. in Quay County near Forrest following a pursuit that originated less than an hour before from American Heritage Bank in Melrose. They were assisted by the New Mexico State Police.

CNJ staff

Three men and a woman accused of robbing the American Heritage Bank in Melrose are at the Curry County Detention Center following a Monday morning pursuit with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State Police.

Marcos Maestas, 20, Patrick Quintana, 25, Juana Griego, 19, and Santos Preciado, 18, all of Tucumcari, were arrested without incident at a state police road block at mile post 66 on N.M. 209, just outside of House, according to Lt. Cleo Baker of the state police.

All four face felony charges of armed robbery, conspiracy and tampering with evidence, Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller said.

Mac Langford, president of the bank, said the robbery occurred less than 15 minutes after the bank opening at 9 a.m. He declined further comment Monday morning, citing an ongoing investigation, and did not return calls left at his office and home Monday.

According to Waller:

• The sheriff’s office got a call around 9:20 a.m. that four individuals had robbed the bank of an undisclosed amount of money using a pellet gun, a machete and a baseball bat.

• A bank employee followed the getaway car and gave details until law enforcement officers took over the pursuit.

A phone call placed to the employee Monday was not returned.

• The suspects disposed of weapons and disguises during the pursuit. Waller would not elaborate on the disguises.

Preciado was on supervised probation for a 2009 charge of criminal damage in Tucumcari.