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The original item was published from 9/20/2021 1:13:11 PM to 10/1/2021 12:00:01 AM.

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City Manager Report

Posted on: September 20, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Crime Stoppers Seeks Info on 2017 Homicide

Crime Scene

Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of as much as $2,000 for information that helps solve the April 2017 shooting death of Benjamin Montoya.

About 6 a.m. Saturday, April 22, Las Cruces police were dispatched to a shooting at 2205 W. Picacho Ave. Officers arrived and found Montoya, 21, suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest. Montoya was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at an area hospital.

Joel Arciniega-Saenz, who was also 21 years old at that time, was initially arrested and charged with Montoya’s death. However, charges against Arciniega-Saenz were subsequently dismissed. Detectives wish to speak with any witnesses to the April 22, 2017 shooting death of Montoya, or with individuals who may have knowledge of the crime.

Arciniega-Saenz, now 25, is currently in custody awaiting trial for the death of 51-year-old James Garcia who was killed June 20, 2021, at Apodaca Park.

During the 2017 investigation, Las Cruces police detectives learned Montoya and his girlfriend, Dakota Ocampo, were at Arciniega-Saenz’s apartment. A witness told detectives that a verbal argument occurred inside the apartment.

A short time later, the witness claimed to hear what appeared to be a gunshot. After looking outside, the witness saw Arciniega-Saenz and Ocampo, now 29, in the parking lot standing over Montoya’s body. Saenz and the woman gave detectives conflicting accounts to what happened.

Crime Stoppers is offering as much as $2,000 cash for information that helps identify the person or persons responsible for Montoya's death. Anyone with information is asked to call Las Cruces Crime Stoppers at 800/222-8477. Tips can also be provided through the Las Cruces Crime Stoppers app, “P3 TIPS.” The app is available through the App Store on most devices.

Those who provide tips through Crime Stoppers do not have to leave their own name and will remain completely anonymous.

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