Crime

Man accused of sexually assaulting girl now a suspect in 2nd case

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Las Cruces Police said Friday 49-year-old Carlos Castaneda, the man arrested April 30 and charged with sexually assaulting a young girl, is now suspected of a similar incident involving another 12-year-old.

Castaneda, of the 1100 block of Cave Springs Trail, is now charged with a first-degree felony count of Criminal Sexual Penetration of a Minor and two second-degree felony counts of Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor.

Police said a warrant was issued for Castaneda, allegedly seen Friday afternoon near Camino Real Middle School.

This reportedly forced a brief lockdown of the campus. Castaneda was located shortly and taken into custody, police said.

An LCPS spokeswoman told ABC-7 the lockdown lasted 10 minutes. All parents were sent a phone message alerting them of the incident.

Police said the victim in the second case against Castaneda spent the night at his home. The sexual assault allegedly occurred between May 2015 and June 2016.

In April, Castaneda was charged with a first-degree felony count of Kidnapping and three counts of Criminal Sexual Contact of a Minor, all third-degree felonies. In that case, Castaneda is suspected of sexually assaulting and illegally restraining another 12-year-old girl.

He was arrested on the original charge April 30 and booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

His bond was originally set at $75,000 cash but was later reduced to $15,000 secured.

Police said Castaneda posted bond May 1, 2017 and was released from custody. His new bond was set at $50,000 cash.

ABC-7 confirmed Castaneda was on the Mesilla Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2004 and served as Mayor Pro Tem from 1998 to 2002.

Castaneda was also a commissioner on the Planning and Zoning Commission in the Town of Mesilla in between 1994 and 1996 and a former Homeland Security liaison to the U.S. Border Patrol under former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

Castaneda was a part-time DJ at 101 Gold in Las Cruces. He hosted the show "Cruzin in Cruces" for the past six months before resigning in April, according to a station vice president.

Castaneda is also the owner of Forever Portraits, a company that provided services for Crockett Elementary School in El Paso. Some parents told ABC-7 the Forever Portraits studio took class pictures of the students but never delivered them.

"It upsets me. We're never going to get those pictures back," said one parent.

The El Paso Independent School District sent out a letter to parents expressing disappointment. The district said parents would have to arrange refunds with Forever Portraits, not with the school.


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