Two charged in aftermath of Deming explosion



In the days following an explosion at Deming’s probation office on Jan. 22, no suspect has been publicly accused of setting the bomb or a second device found at the building.

However, as of Friday, two Deming residents are facing charges, in separate jurisdictions, that may be connected to that day’s events.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, Deming police responded to an explosion at Deming’s adult probation and corrections office and located what they said was a second explosive device. No injuries were reported. The incident led to the closure of Deming’s magistrate and district courthouses that day, a half-day closure of nearby Luna County offices and heightened security at local schools.

Lindsi Zumwalt, 40, has been charged with aggravated fleeing from law enforcement without causing great bodily harm. Zumwalt is accused of being the driver of a vehicle of interest to police who responded to the probation office on Monday. The vehicle was described as a black pickup truck with no registration plates. After the car was spotted by state police, they say the truck eluded a traffic stop and fled from officers.

She is charged with a fourth-degree felony that carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison and a possible $5,000 fine, if she is convicted.

According to state police, the pursuit proceeded through city streets until the truck took Pearl Street and then went up an Interstate 10 off-ramp against traffic at exit 82, proceeding to drive east in the westbound lanes of the highway before attempting a U-turn and being stopped by state police with Deming police assisting. Zumwalt was booked at the Luna County Detention Center the same day.

Prosecutors have filed a petition seeking to hold Zumwalt through her trial.

Meanwhile, Chloe Lucero, 41, is facing a charge of making interstate threats, according to a federal complaint filed Jan. 23. Luna County Detention Center records stated Lucero was booked there that day. On Friday morning, Lucero was booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center in Las Cruces, records show, and a hearing in the case is set for Tuesday morning.

The federal complaint does not link Lucero directly to the explosion in Deming. Luna County District Attorney Michael Renteria told the Bulletin on Wednesday, “That possible connection is being investigated by local law enforcement and federal agents,” via text message.

The federal complaint alleges Lucero had sent emails in recent weeks to the New Mexico Courts office and the District Attorney’s Office threatening to bomb government buildings and develop “chemical weapons and high explosives.”

In a Dec. 21 email sent to the courts office, one of several messages quoted in the complaint, Lucero allegedly wrote, “I would prefer not to use a bomb, to get revenge, but that’s my only alternative at this point,” and made detailed threats involving explosive devices.

The most recent message was sent on Saturday, Jan. 20, according to the complaint, which summarizes communications the FBI says it has received from Lucero dating back to March 2019, as well as threatening messages sent to other government agencies and the Washington State Bar Association.

Lucero was recently charged in Luna County with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony. Deming police allege in charging documents that Lucero struck another Deming resident on her head with a wooden cane on Nov. 27. On Jan. 16, Magistrate Judge Cynthia Clark ordered Lucero to undergo an evaluation for a possible competence proceeding, responding to a motion filed by Lucero’s attorney. Such proceedings are sequestered and not a matter of public record.

A spokesperson for the New Mexico State Police told the Bulletin the FBI had taken over the investigation. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office both declined to comment on the ongoing investigation; and defense attorneys representing Zumwalt and Lucero declined to comment on the pending litigation.

Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty under the law.