Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Ex-Deputy Arrested After Barricade Situation Is Ramon Charley Armendariz, Say Police Sources (w/Updates)

***Please see updates at the end of the post***

The MCSO remains quiet on the name of the 40-year-old ex-MCSO deputy who apparently barricaded himself in his home late Sunday night until surrendering around 1:30 a.m. And the Phoenix Police Department is referring all questions to the MCSO.

But reliable police sources tell me the ex-deputy involved is Ramon Charley Armendariz, a key player in the ACLU's big civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio.


The PPD reports that early this morning, the department's SWAT team "peaceably detained" an unidentified ex-deputy, who surrendered after a "barricade situation" at the deputy's home at North 32nd and West Eugie avenues.

The PPD further states in a news release that, "The subject was transported to an Urgent Psychiatric Center for an evaluation" and that "an MCSO investigation indicates there are charges pending against the subject and he will be booked into jail once released from the evaluation."

Though he's described as an "ex-MCSO deputy," I asked MCSO flack Lisa Allen as recently as Friday if Armendariz had been arrested or had resigned. She responded that there was no resignation letter in his personnel file.

Which doesn't exactly answer the question, but okay.

The PPD had a recent encounter with Armendariz at his home. What that entailed I'm not sure.

Reliable police sources also tell me that the MCSO's investigation of Armendariz involves allegations of illegal drug use.

In March 2008, Armendariz was involved in the detention of American citizens Manuel Nieto and Velia Meraz, a brother and sister whose mistake was playing Mexican music a little too loud as the MCSO was doing one of its infamous illegal immigration sweeps.

The brother and sister ended up being pulled over by sheriff's deputies with guns drawn, after Armendariz said he ordered them away from an area where he was detaining suspected illegal immigrants.

Which they apparently did, with some choice words for Armendariz (according to Armendariz) triggering their detention. Ultimately, they were released and not cited.

During the 2012 civil trial in Melendres, Armendariz testified that he saw nothing wrong with more Latinos being detained and arrested during the sweeps because Arizona "is a Latino state and the majority of the people here are Latinos."

Actually, Arizona is about 30 percent Latino. But you knew that.

More as I get it.

Update 11:38: This just in from MCSO spokesman Joaquin Enriquez, in response to my e-mail, asking if Armendariz is the guy in question:

"I will be putting out a statement with all his info. I need to get with detectives about last nights charges as well."

Which kinda-sorta sounds like a confirmation.

Channel 3 reports that "Neighbors said this is not the first time police have been to the home [of Armendariz]."

This confirms what I've been told from one reliable source, who also indicated that the visits were related to domestic violence of some kind.

Update 12:20 p.m.:

Just received this statement from MCSO spokesman Joaquin Enriquez:

May 5, 2014

Sheriff's Office Arrests Former Deputy after Standoff with Police

Former Sheriff's deputy, Ramon Armendariz (DOB 8/23/73), who barricaded himself in his Phoenix residence last night, has been arrested by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.

The case against Armendariz began on April 30, 2014 when he called Phoenix Police telling a 911 operator that a burglar was inside his west valley home. When Phoenix officers arrived, they found Armendariz armed with a pepper ball gun and chasing a phantom burglar. After determining that Armendariz was a Sheriff's deputy, the case was turned over to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for investigation.

Armendariz has worked as a deputy since May 31st, 2005, in various areas of the office. He resigned on Friday, May 2nd after a search warrant was served on his home.

The Sheriff's Office is continuing its investigations into possible criminal conduct by this deputy.

Something else: I don't have a photo of Armendariz that I can use, but if you want to see what he looks like, he's the MCSO guy in shot nine of this Arizona Republic slideshow, taken at the 2012 Phoenix gay pride parade.

The caption reads:

"Maricopa County Sheriff's Office detective Charley Armendariz holds hands with his partner Walter Canales while walking in Saturday's Pride Parade in downtown Phoenix. It was the first time law enforcement officers have been allowed by their department to walk the parade in uniform. Both Mesa police department and MCSO had officers walking in the parade."

Update 8:57 p.m.:

The MCSO has posted the mugshot below of Armendariz.

Also, here is Armendariz's Facebook page:


Update May 6, 2014: For the latest on Armendariz, check my colleague Matt Hendley's post, "Ex-MCSO Deputy Allegedly Had Drugs in Evidence Bags in His Garage."

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons