Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

A total of five people in New Mexico were sentenced to serve time in connection to a 2021 fatal shooting over a drug deal gone wrong, according to reports.

The fatal shooting happened at Westgate Heights Park in southwest Albuquerque on April 20, 2021. The shooting hospitalized 18-year-old Ryan Saavedra Jr., who later died at the hospital.

An officer with the Albuquerque Police Department interviewed a witness who was with Saavedra. They said he was pepper sprayed and told the driver to leave the park. As they were driving away, several gunshots were fired at the vehicle.

Police were able to access social media messages between Saavedra and Arianna ‘Homiee,’ who was later identified as 21-year-old Arianna Hawkins. The two agreed to the sale of 100 fentanyl pills for $420, according to court documents.

Hawkins told police in an interview that she was with her boyfriend 21-year-old Elijah Tafoya and two unidentified people, a male and female. The unknown female used Hawkins’ phone to find a drug dealer on social media.

Neither Hawkins nor Tafoya exited the vehicle when it was at Westgate Heights Park, according to court documents. Following the shooting, the two were dropped off at a gas station nearby.

Court documents show Hawkins was sentenced to six years in prison for an attempt to commit armed robbery.

Police were able to identify 23-year-old Dominick Mullen as the male suspect. Mullen was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison for his second-degree murder charge. Tafoya was interviewed by police and said everyone in the car wanted to take fentanyl.

He further explained that a previous deal before the fatal park shooting saw a buyer robbed of $20 after the group did not provide drugs after payment, according to court documents.

Tafoya took a guilty plea agreement that saw him agree to a maximum of four years incarceration for two felony conspiracy charges. Two other people were also charged and sentenced in the fatal shooting.

24-year-old Christian Benson was sentenced in May 2023 to 12 years for trafficking controlled substances. Police found that 21-year-old Ajole Guzman was involved in the attempted robbery, and she was also charged with second-degree murder.

Guzman was sentenced to serve 18 years for both charges.

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By Buffy Gunner

Independent Journalist + Business Owner | Lover of all things true crime. Mantra: Only YOU can be YOU. | Los Angeles Born |