AP NEWS

Suspected Utah bank robber found in Los Alamos

January 30, 2019

Utah police found a suspected bank robber from the Salt Lake City area in Los Alamos earlier this month, court records say, when he was arrested by Los Alamos police and accused of distributing a controlled substance.

Antonio P. Velasquez, 22, was stopped by police in Los Alamos on Dec. 29 on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to a statement of probable cause.

A search warrant filed last week in the state District Court in Santa Fe says Velasquez is suspected of much more than that.

In the affidavit for the search warrant, Detective Jared Stillion of the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake wrote that Velasquez is suspected in a string of holiday robberies in Salt Lake County, Utah.

The FBI had been calling the man the “Holiday Bandit,” according to Salt Lake City media.

The search warrant affidavit says Stillion was working with an FBI task force to investigate seven bank robberies between Nov. 20 and Dec 28 in the Salt Lake area. Detectives believed all of the crimes were committed by the same person.

The Salt Lake City police department told the task force it had received two tips saying the suspected robber was Antonio Velazquez, Stillion wrote, and when detectives showed a bank teller a photo of Velasquez, the teller identified him as the robber.

Stillion wrote in the search warrant that he had issued an arrest warrant for Velasquez in one of the bank robberies and had six more charges pending. Based on Stillion’s information, a District Court judge in Santa Fe granted a search warrant for Utah investigators to search Velasquez’s van and belongings.

A Los Alamos County jail official confirmed Tuesday that Velasquez was still being held there.

Stillion also obtained a photo of Velasquez’s arrest in Los Alamos, the search warrant affidavit says. In the photo, Velasquez seems to be wearing the same shoes as the person who robbed Salt Lake City Key Bank on Dec. 12, Stillion wrote.

New Mexico corrections officers served Velasquez with a warrant for felony robbery in Utah in mid-January, online court records show. According to the document, Velasquez is not fighting extradition to Utah to face charges.

Velasquez also is facing charges of distributing a controlled substance and possession of narcotics stemming from the late-December arrest in Los Alamos County.

According to police documents, when a Los Alamos officer pulled Velasquez over on suspicion of DWI, he told the officer “he needs glasses to drive.”

But the officer noticed his slurred speech and spotted a glass pipe with white residue behind the passenger seat.

When the officer took Velasquez to the police department for sobriety tests, charging documents say, the tests showed he hadn’t been drinking alcohol. But he couldn’t escape charges of driving without a license and having drug paraphernalia.

Things got worse for Velasquez, court documents say, when police asked him to empty his pockets: He pulled out $410 in cash and started talking.

“I’m a drug runner,” he told officers, according to the documents.

Then he pulled out a baggie of methamphetamine, documents say, and told police: “That’s why I’m here.”

Velasquez is scheduled for a hearing on the drug charges in early February in Los Alamos County.

He won’t be extradited to Utah until his Los Alamos case has been adjudicated, a jail official said.

AP RADIO
Update hourly