Alleged robbery may have been drug deal gone bad
A robbery reported at the Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup may have started out as a drug deal.
According to Captain Erin Toadlena-Pablo, a GIMC employee called police at 12:42 p.m. about a man who had pulled a firearm on a couple outside the facility near a passenger car. Police were told the man with the gun demanded money from a male.
For more than two hours, Gallup Police’s Emergency Response Team, along with the New Mexico State Police placed GIMC, Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital, GIMC Out-Patient Clinic and multiple buildings belonging to both hospitals, on lockdown as they searched for the alleged gunman. Police searched each building floor-to-floor, but found nothing. The lockdown was lifted around 2:30 p.m.
During their investigation, Toadlena-Pablo said investigators learned Elijah Ivan Touchine, 19, from Church Rock, who initially told police the gunman had demanded money from him, was actually “selling weed” to the man when the buyer, whom he told police he knew as Isaiah, pulled a handgun on him.
“He was told by the male to give him all his money and brandished a hand gun that was tucked into his front belt line,” a Gallup Police Department statement read.
The statement added that Touchine “feared for his life”and “gave him what he wanted.” After he gave the money to Isaiah, the statement said Touchine retrieved an AR-15 rifle from the back of his vehicle “for his safety.”
A second person, identified as Geniva Alvarez, 19, of Church Rock, corroborated Touchine’s accounts of the incident, but added Isaiah “gave Elijah money for marijuana.”
“Geniva (Alvarez) advised Isaiah asked for secondary products, when they brought it out Isaiah grabbed the wax marijuana/marijuana and ran off,” the police’s statement read.
Toadlena-Pablo said both Touchine and Alvarez have been charged with distribution of marijuana and conspiracy, both fourth-degree felonies. The gunman has not been located or identified.
Police continue to investigate the incident. No injuries were reported. Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call Metro Dispatch at 505-722-2231, or their local police agency.