AP NEWS

Española teen charged with rape, sexual exploitation of children

March 31, 2019

A Rio Arriba County grand jury has charged an 18-year-old Española man — one of three defendants charged with murder in the October 2018 shooting death of an Alcalde teenager — with rape and sexual exploitation of children.

Axel Zamarron is accused of committing the sex crimes in April 2018, according to an indictment filed in state District Court on Thursday, about six months before he and two other teenagers — riding in two cars — are accused of opening fire on a vehicle carrying Cameron Martinez, 18, and three of Martinez’s friends.

Martinez was fatally shot during the incident, which occurred on N.M. 68 near the casino in Ohkay Owingeh. His companions all suffered gunshot wounds.

Police have said the shooting appeared to have been a case of mistaken identity in which the shooters thought they were firing at someone who had threatened them on social media.

The indictment does not detail the rape allegation against Zamarron. The document says only that he is accused of victimizing a child between the ages of 13 and 18 over whom he was in a position of authority.

According to the indictment, the investigation that led to the charges originated with the New Mexico State Police.

“Investigators tell me that in order to protect the integrity of this investigation, there is no information available about the case at this time,” a spokesman from the agency said in an email Friday.

James Hallinan, a spokesman for District Attorney Marco Serna, said Serna’s office could provide more details on the case Monday.

“Since it’s juvenile they need to review for redactions,” Hallinan said in a text message Friday.

Zamarron turned 18 in January, according to court records.

The Santa Fe Police Department has confirmed that Zamarron was one of a handful of teens arrested and charged in a reported shootout in the parking lot of the Santa Fe Place mall in late June.

Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court documents say he also was involved in a fistfight in Española in June that escalated into the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Nicholas Kaye of Ohkay Owingeh. Zamarron is not facing any charges in that crime.

He was released on house arrest in November to await trial in the shooting death of Martinez. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges of criminal sexual penetration and exploitation in mid-April.

The attorney representing Zamarron in the shooting case did not return a call seeking comment Friday.