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Man accused of kidnapping woman, trafficking meth

Santa Fe - New Mexican, May 25, 2015

Santa Fe police early Monday arrested Agustin Venecia, 46, on suspicion of seven crimes ranging from kidnapping to trafficking of a controlled substance. Police say he admitted to transporting a woman against her will while he was illegally in possession of a firearm.

A string of weekend encounters with Venecia began Saturday, police said, when he called dispatchers to report that a local woman had been kidnapped. The next day, he phoned again to report she’d been found. Officers followed up by questioning the two at the Western Scene Motel on Cerrillos Road.

When questioned alone, police said, the woman stated that she had staged her own kidnapping the day before to get away from Venecia, adding that she had felt afraid of him and didn’t want him to find her. The woman told police Venecia eventually tracked her down outside another Cerrillos Road inn, the Tranquilla Inn, where he confronted her with a gun, grabbed her from behind and forcibly transported her by car for several blocks.

Officers said a search of the Western Scene Motel room led to the discovery of a box of .45-caliber ammunition, a crystal substance residue, plastic baggies and a digital scale.

The woman was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center for a medical examination, police said, but at about 4:30 a.m. Monday, officers were dispatched to the hospital because Venecia was reportedly asking staff if he could visit her.

During a second round of questioning about Sunday’s confrontation outside the Tranquilla Inn, police said, Venecia admitted that he had been armed when he grabbed the woman and left with her in a car. Officers say they found a steel-framed BB handgun in Venecia’s pocket, as well as a small amount of a substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine.