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Violent Criminal Indicted By Federal Grand Jury

Curecanti National Recreation Area

National Park News

On July 3, 2006, the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office notified the park that there was a man at the Gunnison Valley Hospital with a gunshot to his forearm who claimed that he’d been shot while fishing along the shoreline of Blue Mesa Reservoir. An NPS special agent and the park’s chief ranger drove to the hospital while rangers conducted interviews of potential witnesses. The wounded man was identified as Jesus Suarez-Aguirre, an undocumented alien who was working construction in the area. Suarez-Aguirre was later taken to Montrose County Hospital for surgery. Through a criminal investigation conducted jointly by Crested Butte officers and park agents and rangers, Suarez-Aguirre was identified as the primary suspect in several residential burglaries and a violent attempted rape in Crested Butte. He had evidently shot himself accidentally with a handgun while in the park. A state search warrant was served at his residence and evidence pertaining to the burglaries and sexual assault was recovered. The handgun was recovered later on. Suarez-Aguirre was subsequently identified as a suspect in several other residential burglaries and was charged with same by the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office. Late last year, he was convicted in state court of sexual assault and on numerous burglary charges filed by both counties. Meanwhile, the investigation into Suarez-Aguirre’s immigration status and criminal possession of a firearm and ammunition continued. With assistance from both ICE and ATF agents and at the direction of the assistant U.S. attorney, NPS agents were able to establish that Suarez-Aguirre was a foreign national who was inside the U.S. illegally and that he’d been in possession of a firearm and ammunition both inside and outside NPS jurisdiction. On May 23rd, Suarez-Aguirre was indicted by a federal grand jury, with a Curecanti ranger testifying at the hearing. The grand jury issued a true bill against Suarez-Aguirre for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition (18 USC 922). The case is pending trial or plea agreement and Suarez-Aguirre has been remanded to the custody of the US Marshals Service.


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