The following is a press release from the Texas Department of Public Safety: 

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Yoakum County Sherriff’s Office (YCSO) recovered stolen property, drugs and a firearm Friday, Dec. 22, after a vehicle stop in Yoakum County.  A subsequent investigation uncovered additional criminal activity.

At approximately 12:07 p.m., DPS Troopers and YCSO Deputies stopped a 2006 GMC pickup near U.S. 82 and FM 435, after police received a suspicious criminal activity call from a rural homeowner.   After a search of the vehicle, stolen property, approximately 18 grams of heroin, approximately three grams of cocaine and a  9 mm handgun were discovered in the vehicle.  The stolen property was valued between $15,000 and $18,000.

Further investigation led to the recovery of Honda ATV and its trailer, a diesel tank, a welder and a John Deere tractor from Yoakum County.  The arrests also led to the discovery of a “stash house” in Lovington, New Mexico, that contained a large amount of stolen property including trailers and welders. 

Melinda Dominga Marroguin (38), of Lubbock, Texas; Brandon Hay Gustafson (33), of Brownfield, Texas;  Martin L. Sanchez (43), of Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Freddy Vasquez (46), of Lovington, New Mexico, were arrested and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, burglary of a habitation and burglary of a building.  Marroguin, Sanchez and Gustafson were also charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and felony unlawful possession of firearm.   All four suspects were transported and booked into the Yoakum County Detention Center. 

DPS reminds the public to be observant of their surroundings and report anything suspicious.  Thefts and burglaries tend to increase during the holiday season. The following safety tips will discourage criminal activity:

  • · Do not leave your keys in your vehicle while it is running. (It is also against the law to leave your keys in the ignition.) 
  • · Put all items in your vehicle in the trunk or hidden out of sight.  Never leave valuable items in unattended vehicles if possible. 
  • · At home, make certain to lock all your doors and windows and, if you have an alarm system, turn the alarm on before leaving. 
  • · If you leave your home for extended periods of time, let your family, friends, and neighbors know to watch your home, pickup your mail and newspapers, and request a house watch from your local law enforcement agency. 

(Press release from Texas Department of Public Safety)