SWAT operation misses wanted man for second time
Hobbs resident Anthony Quiroz eluded law enforcement again Monday as Hobbs police made one arrest in an hours-long SWAT operation on East White Street. It is the second time in less than a week SWAT teams have surrounded a home in Lea County looking for Quiroz.
Hobbs police and the New Mexico Adult Probation and Parole Office responded around 8 a.m. to a residence on the 500 block of East White to apprehend two Hobbs men, identified as Sammy Piñon and Quiroz, after police learned information about their whereabouts.
According to Hobbs police, a woman at the home told them two masked men entered the home with weapons and the HPD SWAT team was requested to respond.
Afterwards, Sammy Piñon, 29, was arrested Monday morning without incident on two warrants for felony charges of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, aggravated battery against a household member, aggravated assault, battery against a household member and breaking and entering. He was booked at the Hobbs City Jail in lieu of $11,000 bond. Following Piñon’s arrest, SWAT stayed at the location until the afternoon and Quiroz, 28, was not found at the residence.
“Anytime we have a situation like that, we go into it trying to handle it with the safety of the public, as well as our officers in mind,” Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall said Monday afternoon. “We do the best we can to balance that and ensure the safety of everyone in the area.”
On Friday, the Lea County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team surrounded a home on Sacramento in north Hobbs was surrounded for more than six hours in an attempt to arrest Quiroz. SWAT members eventually breached the home to discover Quiroz was not inside.
During the Monday operation, repeated commands by police were announced over a loudspeaker and the SWAT team prepared as residential blocks surrounding the area were cordoned off with police cars, orange cones and yellow tape. Hobbs EMS and a helicopter also waited near the scene. Several loud bangs could also be overheard. During the early afternoon, a small crowd of neighbors gathered outside the perimeter of tape near the intersection of Houston and Dunnam Street to observe the goings-on. One neighbor expressed concern for her relatives on White Street.
McCall said the residents within the 500 block of East White were evacuated from their homes.
Quiroz has a 2008 conviction for aggravated battery and Hobbs police reported that he absconded from the state parole and probation office. Hobbs police said the investigation into the incident and related incidents is ongoing and asks anyone with information about Quiroz to contact the department at 575-397-9265.
Kelly Farrell can be reached at 391-5437 or by email.