ST. GEORGE – One man’s suspicious behavior in front of a Homeland Security Agent Monday led to the man’s arrest, along with the arrest of another man, for unlawful finance card possession, drug possession and a National Crime Information Center warrant out of Minnesota.
Homeland Security Agent Tim Chard was in the lobby of Bracken’s Auto Tech & Tire in St. George, dropping off his car for service, St. George Police Officer Joshua Wilson said in his probable cause statement supporting the arrests. A man in the lobby noticed the badge on Chard’s belt and abruptly walked out of the building in the middle of speaking with the clerk.
The clerk told Chard the man was there to pick up some personal items out of a car that had been impounded by Mohave County a few days prior. Chard contacted Mohave County and was informed the man had a felony warrant for his arrest out of Minnesota.
Officers set up surveillance at Bracken’s Auto in case the man came back to the shop. After about 20 minutes, the clerk called the man and told him to come get his things. A few minutes passed and the man arrived at the shop; at that point, he was detained by officers.
Officers also made contact with a second man who had dropped the first man off at the shop. The clerk at the shop provided officers with the second man’s supposed Puerto Rico driver’s license, which was listed as belonging to Franklin Riva Morales.
“I ran the driver’s license,” Wilson said in the statement, “and nothing came back that matched the driver’s license that I had in front of me.”
The man claiming to be Morales didn’t speak any English and claimed to only speak Spanish. After a short conversation, he provided officers with another name, Angelo Cuada. This name was found on some bank paperwork he had in his pocket.
“We were still uncertain of his true identity,” Wilson wrote in the statement, “and we decided to take him to the Homeland Security Office to have his finger prints ran for a positive ID.”
Officers left Bracken’s Auto and went to the location where the first man was being detained.
“At this time, we were with Mohave County Deputy Christensen,” Wilson said, “who stated that he booked these same two males into the Mesquite Jail because he couldn’t prove their identity when they were stopped for speeding.”
Christensen said he later discovered one of the men, named Hector Astudillo, had an NCIC warrant out of Minnesota.
“The name that Hector was using the entire time was Mario Astudillo,” Wilson said. “He was adamant that he was not Hector.”
Both men were detained and transported to the Homeland Security Office to be fingerprinted for proper identification. While officers were in the process of making the identifications, Wilson contacted the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota, and officers there pulled up Astudillo’s warrant.
Wilson verified that Astudillo had an identifying tattoo of a mother and child sitting on a throne that matched the description given to him by Anoka County.
At this time, the fingerprints that were taken came back as belonging to Hector Astudillo, alerting that he had a criminal history out of Minnesota.
The second man’s fingerprints came back as belonging to Angelo Cuadra, who entered the United States through an airport on Sept. 3, Wilson said.
At the time of his arrest, Cuadra was in possession of a false driver’s license out of Puerto Rico under the name of Franklin Rivas Morales. He also had two Visa debit cards – one bearing the name Franklin Rivas and the other Franklin Rivas Morales.
Cuadra was booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility. He was charged with one count of possession of a fraudulent government document and two counts of possession of a fraudulently obtained financial card, all third-degree felonies. His bail is set at $20,000.
At the time of his arrest, Hector Astudillo didn’t have a driver’s license or any ID. He was in possession of a Visa debit card that had the name Alejandro Fuentes on it. He also had the out-of-state warrant, and officers located marijuana in his suitcase.
Astudillo was charged with a third-degree felony for unlawful possession of a finance card; a class C misdemeanor for no valid driver’s license; two class A misdemeanors for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia; and an out-of-state warrant. He was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility, and his bail is set at $8,820.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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