Arson suspect risks new false name

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July 28 – A man accused of setting a fire in Las Casa Sena earlier this week has hidden his true identity from police during his arrest, the Santa Fe Police Department said Thursday.

According to an amended indictment, the alleged arsonist — whose real name is Oryan Yazzie — was in possession of a Joseph Duran Social Security card when he was charged with breaking into the complex and setting fire to the La Casa Sena storage area.

Yazzie is now awaiting his trial in First District Court, where prosecutors filed a request for pre-trial detention on Thursday. He faces a new charge of concealment of identity in addition to previous charges of arson, burglary and criminal property damage.

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According to the amended indictment, Yazzie, 40, is suspected of breaking into La Casa Sena through a second-floor window around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. Once inside, he says, he entered a storage room and set fire to three piles of clothes. He then broke the window of the storage room to get back on the roof of the complex.

At that time, the complaint says, hotel maintenance worker Sergio Ruiz, who happened to be in the Sena Plaza parking lot, heard Yazzie break the second-floor window and saw him on the roof.

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Ruiz grabbed an ax from his car and started yelling at Yazzie, court documents say. He told Yazzie to stay on the roof until the police arrived or he would kill him. The police then came and helped Yazzie off the roof.

State Fire Department Captain Jimmy St. James said Yazzie told police he was under the influence of methamphetamine when he broke into La Casa Sena.

Yazzie told police that prior to his arrest, he had run away from a group of about 20 unidentified people, according to the amended indictment. Yazzie claimed that members of the cartel were after him because he had information about their international drug trade, and that he set fire to La Casa Sena to get the attention of the police because he didn’t have a cell phone.

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This year, prior to Tuesday’s incident, Yazzie had been charged with multiple crimes, including criminal sexual contact, battery, non-residential burglary and criminal property damage. These charges are all pending.

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