Three New Mexico men charged in death of man found on Las Cruces roadway, police say

Sonny Sierra and Patrick Salaiz

Police have arrested two of the three men believed to be responsible for Saturday morning’s incident that resulted in the shooting death of 28-year-old Robert Pena whose body was found shortly after 1 a.m. on the side of the road on Esperanza Street, just south of Idaho Avenue.

Patrick D. Salaiz, 43, and Sonny Sierra, 25, both of Silver City, N.M., were arrested Monday on warrants obtained by the Las Cruces Police Department. Salaiz was arrested in Silver City by members of a Las Cruces Police Department/New Mexico State Police SWAT team after he barricaded himself in his residence. Sierra was arrested Monday afternoon in Las Cruces.

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the third suspect, Patrick Salaiz’s 21-year-old son, Gabriel Salaiz. All men involved are from Silver City.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, a passerby spotted a lifeless body on the side of the road on Esperanza Street. Las Cruces police arrived and discovered the man to be Pena who died from a gunshot wound. Investigators found no evidence that a shooting took place there and it appeared Pena’s body was likely dumped on the side of the road.

Las Cruces police investigators have reason to believe Patrick Salaiz, Gabriel Salaiz, Sonny Sierra, Robert Pena and his girlfriend were in a vehicle near the Walmart store, 1550 S. Valley Dr., when the shooting occurred. Police will release details once the investigation is complete.

Sierra was charged with a first-degree felony count of murder and one second-degree felony count of shooting at or from a motor vehicle. Sierra is initially being held without bond at the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

Patrick Salaiz was arrested Monday in Silver City and is initially being held without bond at the Grant County Detention Center. He is charged with first-degree felony murder along with second-degree felony counts of kidnapping, attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and tampering with evidence. He’s also charged with a misdemeanor count of assault. Gabriel Salaiz is facing the same charges as his father.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Gabriel Salaiz is asked to call their local police or Las Cruces police at (575) 526-0795.

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