CNR: Report: Slain officer wasn’t part of plan to stop suspect

CNR: Report: Slain officer wasn’t part of plan to stop suspect
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials arranged with New Mexico State Police to make a traffic stop of a drug trafficker. But an officer not briefed on the plan was fatally shot when he pulled over the man instead of others who were waiting to make the stop, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

State Police records from the investigation into Officer Darian Jarrott’s Feb. 4 death along Interstate 10 east of Lordsburg said the trafficker, Omar Cueva, called a Homeland Security Investigations undercover agent minutes after Jarrott was killed to say he had been pulled over by police but “”did not give them a chance,” the Journal reported.

Cueva, who was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers along Interstate 10 nearer to Las Cruces soon after Jarrott was killed, told the undercover agent that he still wanted to proceed with a planned drug deal, the Journal reported.

Homeland Security Investigations agents told State Police investigators after the incident that they knew Cueva was armed and had said he wouldn’t return to jail.

The federal agency had arranged to buy methamphetamine from Cueva on Feb. 4, and a State Police officer backed up by another officer was chosen to pull over Cueva. But Jarrott pulled Cueva over several miles from where other officers waited, the Journal reported.

Homeland Security Investigations had sent out a “be on the lookout” advisory Feb. 2 as Cueva was traveling on I-10 between Arizona and New Mexico.

State Police Sgt. Mark Madrid, who had been approached by Homeland Security Investigations about arranging for Cueva to be stopped, told investigators that the alert “was put out to the guys” but there was no briefing or criminal history on Cueva, the Journal reported.

Madrid said he told Jarrott to keep an eye out for a red Honda Civic or white pickup truck, reminding Jarrott of the alert saying, “remember this guy is supposed to be carrying a gun.”

Cueva was driving a white pickup when Jarrott pulled him over. According to video previously released by the State Police, the officer was shot after asking Cueva to temporarily surrender a gun that Cueva said he had in the vehicle.

Homeland Security Investigations officials at the agency’s regional office in El Paso, Texas, did not immediately respond Saturday to requests for comment.

A Homeland Security Investigations spokeswoman previously declined comment on a tort claim notice filed by Jarrott’s widow. Such notices are a preliminary step to filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Gabriella Jarrott’s claim notice alleged that her husband was told to conduct a dangerous traffic stop without backup and was not informed of the details of the investigation, leading to his death.

Homeland Security Investigations spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa said the fact that the agency wasn’t commenting “should not be construed as agreement with or stipulation to any of the allegations.”