A traffic stop 30 minutes before the Lea County’s Sheriff’s Office was called on a report of a suspicious death helped Lea investigators arrest a suspect on a charge of murder.
On Friday, the Lea County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that Hobbs resident Albino A. Mendez-Solis, 30, was arrested in connection to the April 1 murder of Wilson M. Caldwell, 26, of Hobbs.
At 5:22 p.m. on April 1, LCSO deputies were called to the area of North Pine and East Hardy streets, directly north of the Ziaplex softball complex, on the suspicious death call. Around 30 minutes earlier, at 4:46 p.m., a LCSO deputy stopped a black Ford Mustang at the intersection of Marland and Jefferson in southeast Hobbs.
“The stop was made in reference to a ‘be on the look out request to stop’ put out by the Lovington Police Department,” said the April 1 arrest report. “The Lovington Police Department advised the vehicle was involved in a shooting earlier in the day.”
Lea County Undersheriff Michael Walker said Friday the shooting in Lovington is not connected to Caldwell’s shooting death.
“They are separate incidents,” Walker said.
During the stop, police said Mendez-Solis offered a different driver’s license that did not match his description. That led to his arrest for concealing identity and a search of his person and vehicle. Deputies found drug paraphernalia and 0.3 grams of methamphetamine.
Following his arrest on those charges, it was determined Mendez-Solis had a July 2018 warrant with a $1,000 bond in Lea County for battery of a household member and criminal damage to property. He also has a October 2017 arrest warrant with no bond in De Baca County for DWI, careless driving and no driver’s license.
Walker said Mendez-Solis was extradicted to De Baca County and detained in the De Baca County Detention Center in Fort Sumner.
With Mendez-Solis in detention, LCSO investigators worked the Caldwell murder investigation. According to the LCSO release, investigators located and seized Mendez-Solis’ black 2005 Ford Mustang with evidence on the vehicle’s front driver side fender. A firearm was also located in the vehicle and investigators learned Caldwell was last seen with Mendez-Solis.
“Through some other work (LCSO investigators) figured out it was (Mendez-Solis), so they got a warrant,” Walker said.
Walker said the timing of finding Mendez-Solis as the main suspect couldn’t have been better because of what was taking place in De Baca County.
“What was about to happen was the judge was about to let (Mendez-Solis) walk in De Baca County,” Walker said.
Lea County sheriff’s investigators obtained a warrant on Mendez-Solis and he will be extradicted back to Lea County to await trial.
On Thursday, a criminal complaint was filed in Lovington Magistrate Court by the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office on a singular count of murder in the first degree. That means Mendez-Solis will have two separate cases against him between the two counties.
Walker said he is not aware of where investigators believe Caldwell was killed and does not believe it was in the area where his body was found.
“Most likely it was a dump site,” Walker said.