Ex-con who searched closed prison arrested in home invasion

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A former state prison inmate who last year was allowed to search for evidence of abuse at the now-closed New Mexico Penitentiary has been arrested in a Las Cruces-area home invasion.

Dona Ana County authorities say 58-year-old Samuel Ponce Chavez was arrested Friday on suspicion of kidnapping and other crimes after being arrested at a home where three people were confronted at gunpoint.

Chavez remains jailed and online court records don’t list an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

Chavez served time in state prisons for a 1988 conviction for second-degree murder.

He claimed during a two-year court battle that the state conducted medical experiments on Penitentiary prisoners, tortured them and sold their organs and blood.

Chavez didn’t find any evidence during a brief search authorized by a judge despite Department of Corrections denials and objections.