ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Federal authorities on Friday charged the man accused of fatally shooting a preschooler on a New Mexico freeway with violating drug trafficking and firearms laws, saying agents found large amounts of marijuana, four guns and a bullet proof vest in a car linked to the suspect.
A federal complaint states that authorities also found roughly $64,000 in cash inside Tony Torrez's home and a Lexus he was driving when he was arrested on Oct. 21. The 31-year-old's arrest came a day after the shooting that killed 4-year-old Lilly Garcia during what police have described as a road rage dispute.
"Based on the amount of narcotics and U.S. currency in this case, I believe Torrez used the firearms to protect himself, the narcotics and the U.S. currency," DEA Special Agent John Castleberry said in the complaint filed Friday.
Torrez faces one federal count of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute and one count of possessing a firearm in connection with drug trafficking crimes. He is in state custody on a $650,000 cash-only bond after being charged last week in a New Mexico court with murder, child abuse and other crimes in the Oct. 20 shooting that one judge described as "possibly one of the most wanton and atrocious acts" in the history of Albuquerque.
Torrez is expected to be transferred to federal custody, U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez said in a statement.
DEA agents launched their investigation into Torrez the day after police allege he fired at a Dodge truck driven by Lilly Garcia's father. The two men had gotten into an argument while exiting onto the freeway before Lilly was shot, police said. She and her brother had just been picked up from school.
According to the federal complaint, DEA agents obtained a warrant to search Torrez's home after Albuquerque police reportedly found marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a substance called "wax" that's made from THC oil inside the house.
While surveilling Torrez's home, Albuquerque police also watched as he loaded up a silver Toyota sedan with items before he drove away in a Lexus and a woman, identified only as C.L. in federal documents, left in the Toyota, the complaint said.
Both were stopped shortly after, with detectives arresting Torrez. He and the woman were taken to police headquarters for further questioning.
DEA agents that day seized cash and paraphernalia used to sell marijuana and make THC wax and oil from Torrez's house. The the next day they were present as police searched the Toyota and Lexus at an Albuquerque police crime lab, according to the complaint.
In the Toyota, they found duffel bags packed with marijuana packaged in zipped-up plastic bags, two revolvers, two assault rifles and the bullet-proof vest. They also found about 18 grams of cocaine in a box, the complaint said.
Also found were a bag of money and small amount of pot inside the Lexus, the complaint said.