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Five suspects from Artesia and Carlsbad were arrested last week after attempting to kidnap two people over a $5 drug debt.

Around 3 p.m. March 15, a New Mexico State Police officer on patrol near Artesia overheard Artesia Police Department officers being dispatched to 26th Street and Fairgrounds Road in reference to a kidnapping in progress.

The officer arrived to find five individuals surrounding a blue car. As the officer approached, the individuals jumped into a red pickup truck and began to flee the scene.

The officer was able to stop the red pickup and detain all five subjects without incident.

Upon further investigation, the NMSP learned the truck had been chasing the blue car – which contained two individuals – across Artesia. Those inside the car had called 911 for help before their vehicle ran out of gas at 26th and Fairgrounds.

The victims told police a male and female subject from the pickup had held them at gunpoint. The male then broke their cell phones and took their shoes. The pair was ordered out of the car at gunpoint, at which time the NMSP officer arrived on scene.

Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for the pickup and found numerous weapons and ammunition inside. The victims informed police they owed the suspects a $5 drug debt and believed they were going to be kidnapped and killed.

The five suspects from the pickup were subsequently arrested and booked into the Eddy County Detention Center on the following charges:

  • Gabriel Garcia, 30, of Carlsbad: kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon, and interference with communications.
  • Cheyenne Ramirez, 24, of Artesia: kidnapping and armed robbery.
  • Katherine Smith, 21, of Carlsbad: kidnapping and armed robbery.
  • Brittney Ramirez, 28, of Carlsbad: possession of a firearm by a felon and concealing identity.
  • Aubree Pando, 22, of Artesia: two outstanding felony warrants.
  • 3-23-MUGS-AubreePando-Artesia

    Aubree Pando, Artesia

  • 3-23-MUGS-KatherineSmith-Carlsbad

    Katherine Smith, Carlsbad

  • 3-23-MUGS-CheyenneRamirez-Artesia

    Cheyenne Ramirez, Artesia

  • 3-23-MUGS-BrittneyRamirez-Carlsbad

    Brittney Ramirez, Carlsbad

  • 3-23-MUGS-GabrielGarcia-Carlsbad

    Gabriel Garcia, Carlsbad