ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Arson investigators have charged the man responsible for a Bosque fire over the weekend near Tingley Beach. However, court records indicate that suspect committed another crime within minutes of the fire sparking on Saturday. Antonio Ochoa has a lengthy criminal history is he accused of starting a fire here, police say he also stabbed a man right around the corner shortly after.
The individual caught on camera was 51-year-old Antonio Ochoa. He was charged Thursday for starting a fire in the bosque Saturday afternoon. According to the criminal complaint, Ochoa was seen walking through the bosque with a lighter and police cameras caught him starting the fire.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue says the fire burned about an acre and a half but that isn’t the only crime Ochoa is connected to that day. Ochoa is also charged with stabbing a man in the Monte Carlo Steakhouse parking lot on Central.
David Trujillo owns the Chili Pod, a business on Central, located in between the bosque and Monte Carlo. “I’ve seen everything in this corner from prostitutes to death, to hate crimes, to you name it. I’ve seen it all on this corner,” says Trujillo.
Ochoa has criminal charges dating back 20 years including child abuse charges in 2015, and most recently, breaking in entering charges late last year. Ochoa is charged with aggravated battery for the stabbing and setting fires on state lands for the bosque fire, that crime is a 4th-degree felony that carries a max of two years in prison.
Those in the area worry that’s not enough to deter potential arsonists like Ochoa. “I think there need to be consequences, higher consequences,” Trujillo says.
Ochoa remains in jail Friday night, he will have a hearing for the breaking and entering case later this month. Back in 2017, Audie Helms was sentenced to a year and a half for starting fires in the bosques.