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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Cibola County Beacon-Milan Man arrested on kidnapping charges

Cibola County Beacon

Milan Man arrested on kidnapping charges

MILAN - A Milan man has been charged with felony counts of false imprisonment and kidnapping regarding a woman police say he allegedly purchased for $550 in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Deming.

Dennis Hamilton, 70, was arrested Tuesday by Cibola County Sheriff deputies who went to his residence on Thunderbird Road in Broadview Acres in response to a call from Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE),

advising the CCSO that a woman was possibly being held against her will.

According to deputy Todd Murphy, his dispatch received the call from ICE at 3:30 p.m. and he and deputy Ron Saavedra arrived at the Hamilton residence off of NM 605 at 3:47 p.m.

Murphy said they asked Hamilton if the woman, a Mexican national, was at his home. Hamilton said the woman was not there and had left several weeks earlier.

"He was being very hesitant," Murphy said. "After we explained that there was a report from ICE, we asked him if we could enter the residence. He declined at first, but after a moment, he allowed us to enter."

Murphy said that while deputy Saavedra was talking with Hamilton, Murphy walked into a bedroom and found the woman in question sitting on a bed.

As Murphy was walking the woman out of the bedroom, deputy Saavedra noticed a handgun and a buck knife on a side table next to Hamilton's recliner.

Saavedra shouted, "Weapon!"

Murphy and Saavedra responded and placed Hamilton under arrest , in handcuffs, for resisting and obstructing an officer.

"We responded accordingly to the weapon threat as it was easily within his reach," said Murphy.

Hamilton was placed in Saavedra's patrol unit and the woman was placed in Murphy's vehicle.

The woman, considered an illegal alien by ICE, was held on an immigration hold.

Sheriff Manuel Lujan performed as interpreter for the woman during questioning.

"I'll do what ever it takes," said Lujan. "Si hablo Espanol."

Police records indicate that during the interview, the woman told deputies that she was "purchased" by Hamilton in Deming and was "working off" $2,.950 that she owed for her crossing into the United States by performing housework for Hamilton and his wife. .

She stated that she wanted to return to Sabinas, Mexico after learning members of her family had become seriously ill, but Hamilton refused to allow her to leave stating, "The police would do mean things to her if she left."

The victim also stated that she was paid $30 and $20 for sexual intercourse on two separate occasions after Hamilton's wife had left the residence.

She once again requested to leave, but Hamilton continued to hold her against her will.

Lujan said that, at this point, the woman contacted a relative in Texas.

"She called an uncle in San Antonio," Lujan said. "He's the one that contacted immigration."

The case is still under investigation as police try and locate the individual that reportedly sold the woman to Hamilton.

After the victim's testimony, Hamilton was charged with false imprisonment, kidnapping and prostitution by solicitation in addition to the obstruction charge.

Hamilton appeared before judge Eliseo Alcon in magistrate court on May 19 and was released on a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond. He faces up to 12 and one half years in prison and $12,000 in fines if convicted.

Judge Alcon was asked by the Beacon why he released Hamilton on an unsecured bond.

"The man is 70 years old and in poor health," said Alcon. "The victim is being held by immigration, so he can not harm her. I don't consider him to be a risk to the community at this point in his life."

Deputies indicated that Hamilton may also face federal charges for human trafficking if the ICE investigation determines those charges are warranted in the case. - John T. Felty

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