Officer convicted of arson sent to prison

Tucumcari Fire

TUCUMCARI (KRQE) – A police officer turned arsonist is off to prison.

Dustin Lopez was sentenced to four years and six months for setting an old hotel and a home in Tucumcari on fire last summer.

One of the fires was at the Payless Inn, which he had promised the owner he would keep an eye on as an officer for the Tucumcari Police Department. Instead, Lopez admits to setting it on fire and watching as firefighters worked to put it out, putting their lives in danger.

Lopez resigned a day after state police searched his home.

Lopez didn’t work alone. Robert Sandoval admitted to helping. Sandoval was sentenced to three years and six months in prison. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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