SAN JUAN COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – People in New Mexico are all too familiar with the criminals who are arrested and released, only to be re-arrested a short time later. Now, the problem is getting national attention on a popular show, “Live PD.”
Featured on A&E, in the most recent episode of “Live PD: Wanted,” New Mexico made an appearance. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office joined “Live PD” in October. In the most recent episode, they were after a career criminal.
“Michael Lopez… I’d say he’s pretty easy to ID. He’s got devil horns tattoed on his head, a teardrop on his face,” Deputy Chad Langley said in the episode.
Michael Lopez was wanted for breaking and entering, criminal damage to property, and battery.
“He’s got the history too, though. Like, he did just stab somebody in the chest a couple of months ago,” said Langley.
Deputies, in conjunction with the U.S. Marshals Office, made sure Lopez was inside a home. Then, they had to chase him down. The show’s commentators then highlighted what happened to Lopez.
“He was released 24 hours later on this as well. This was a fourth-degree felony. So, the state of New Mexico has a law that allows these people to get released,” said Sheriff Mark Lamb, one of the show’s commentators.
The San Juan County Sheriff said it’s a topic he’s glad is coming up on a national level.
“It’s good to be part of that conversation and even some of our legislators are bringing that up,” said Sheriff Shane Ferarri.
Sheriff Ferrari says the show is generating constructive conversation.
“We are letting repeat offenders and violent criminals take advantage of the system,” said the sheriff.
As “Live PD” made sure to point out, he’s not the only one who feels that way.
“This is a frustration that this sheriff’s office and many sheriffs have across New Mexico,” said Lamb.
“Live PD: Wanted” features people who have warrants for their arrest. The sheriff’s office says it has roughly 16,000 active warrants.