A Mora County sheriff’s transport officer was found Monday driving drunk in an unmarked sheriff’s car on Interstate 25, state police said.
Ramon Montoya, 28, of Sapello, was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated.
His blood-alcohol level was reported at .30, more than three times the state’s presumed level of intoxication.
Montoya, who started in July, is on unpaid leave from the Sheriff’s Department pending an internal investigation. He is an uncommissioned officer who transports inmates.
The Sheriff’s Department reported Montoya missing around 11 a.m. Monday.
Shortly after 7 p.m., state police were informed that a silver sport utility vehicle from the Mora County Sheriff’s Department was on the shoulder of the northbound lanes of Interstate 25 with its lights on about 40 miles north of Las Vegas.
State police Officer Wayne Alcon stopped and knocked on the window of the car. Montoya opened the door, and Alcon noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Montoya’s breath.
The keys were in the car’s ignition, and the gear selector was in the drive position, police said. Montoya’s car had run out of gas, police said.
Asked if he had been drinking, Montoya said he had had four or five beers and two shots of whiskey, according to court records.
Mora County Magistrate Judge John Sanchez set Montoya’s bond at $5,000 and placed the deputy on a 12-hour mandatory hold.
State police Lt. Craig Martin said Mora County Undersheriff Michael Benjamin went to get Montoya’s squad car. Benjamin supported the state police’s actions “completely,” Martin said.
“All the agencies had been looking for him (Montoya),” Martin said.
Benjamin said Montoya appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.
“We’re not proud of this. We’ll deal with this professionally,” he said.
He said Sheriff Roy Cordova had been made aware of the situation.
Cordova couldn’t be reached for comment.
A few weeks ago, Cordova got a job as a full-time sheriff’s deputy in Valencia County, almost three hours away from Mora County. Cordova has been working part time since.
Cordova, meanwhile, continues to collect his Mora County paycheck, which amounts to more than $40,000 a year.
He lost in the Democratic primary in June. His term ends Dec. 31.