Fugitive claims he’s victim of law enforcement
mesa county correspondent
GRAND JUNCTION ” A man claiming to be one of the targets of TV bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman insists he’s the victim of heavy-handed law enforcement and prosecutors.
A man identifying himself fugitive Marco Antonio Padilla called the Grand Junction Free Press late Wednesday and claimed he was a longtime informant for Grand Junction’s Drug Enforcement Administration and the Western Colorado Drug Task Force.
“I busted a lot of people for them (cops in Grand Junction),” the man said.
When he stopped working as an informant, he alleged authorities turned on him.
“I ran because I’m not going to do a deal for 12 years (in prison) for a half-ounce of meth,” the man said. “Not after what I’ve done for this community.”
When asked a series of questions toward proving the caller was who he claimed to be, the man offered the same birth dates and series of names, places and events that are outlined in Padilla’s arrest warrant affidavit from April 2007.
Padilla, 32, is the prime target of bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman and is wanted on $150,000 bond after failing to appear for trial last November.
He was arrested in April 2007 on a Drug Task Force warrant after he allegedly drove to Delta’s Wal-Mart Supercenter for a drug deal, according to the affidavit.
Officers received a tip Padilla would be riding in a Chevy Avalanche to pick up a half-pound of meth. Smaller quantities were allegedly found during the arrests of three men, including Padilla.
The man said he left Grand Junction last September bound for Denver, then Pueblo and New Mexico. He wouldn’t say where he is now.
“I’m not in Denver like they think I am, but so be it,” the man said.
He said he’ll turn himself in “five to 10” days and was in contact with attorneys.
The man said he’ll surrender to law enforcement, not “Dog.”
“He thinks he’s some hot (expletive),” the man said.
The man denied involvement in drug distribution or any sort of organization.
Aside from the felony drug case from April 2007, Padilla has three active warrants for traffic violations and a 2007 felony warrant for false reporting.
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