Prosecutors seek pretrial detention without bail in deadly shootout at New Mexico biker rally

May 30, 2023, 5:35 PM

TAOS, N.M. (AP) — Two men from Texas appeared in court Tuesday to confront drug-possession and firearms-related charges in connection with a deadly shootout at a motorcycle rally in northern New Mexico that left three people dead.

Authorities say three men were killed and five people wounded during Saturday’s shootout in the mountain resort town of Red River, where the rally was held. Police say the violence stemmed from a previous altercation in Albuquerque between rival motorcycle gangs known as the Banditos and Waterdogs.

Matthew Charles Jackson, 39, of Austin, Texas, entered initial pleas of not guilty to charges of carrying a firearm in a liquor establishment and methamphetamine possession at a state District Court appearance in Taos, a court-appointed defense attorney said.

Texas resident Christopher Garcia also appeared in court to plead not guilty to a felony charge of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence.

The Taos-based district attorney’s office filed a request to deny bail that will require further court deliberations while Jackson and Garcia remain in jail.

Public defense attorney Aleksander Kostich said the circumstances don’t appear to warrant pretrial detention.

“From what was presented in court thus far, it is a misuse of pretrial detention rules,” said Kostich, managing attorney for the state Law Offices of the Public Defender.

New Mexico State Police say that 30-year-old Jacob Castillo of Rio Rancho will be charged with an open count of murder when he is released from a hospital.

On Tuesday, State Police Lt. Mark Soriano said that Castillo remained hospitalized under police guard. He said federal law enforcement agencies are participating in the investigation of Saturday’s shooting.

The criminal complaint against Jackson says that he presented identification for a Texas concealed gun permit and told police he didn’t know that he wasn’t allowed to carry a firearm at a saloon in Red River, where he was arrested.

The charging document says that Jackson was carrying a 9-mm handgun loaded with one hollow-point bullet in the firing chamber.

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Prosecutors seek pretrial detention without bail in deadly shootout at New Mexico biker rally