Federal Felon Tries Hiding in Freezer to Avoid Capture


February 8, 2023, 7:43 pm

ABQ RAW staff

POSTED: 2/8/2023 @ 12:30PM

Albuquerque, N.M. –

In an email released by the U.S. Marshals, the U.S. Marshals Service District of New Mexico – Southwest Investigative Fugitive Team (USMS-SWIFT) arrested a Federal Fugitive after a residential fire that occurred in the Northeastern area of Albuquerque. Donald Sanchez Matthews, age 41, was wanted for a Federal Probation Violation and Absconding from Supervision, following a 2019 federal criminal conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Previously, following that term of incarceration, in April 2022, Matthews violated this federal probation and served several months.

On February 7, 2023, USMS-SWIFT located Matthews at a known residence. At

approximately 12:00 P.M., USMS-SWIFT began to make announcements via an emergency

vehicle public address system. Upon contact with two other occupants, it was confirmed that

Matthews was indeed in the residence, possibly in the attic.

At approximately 12:40 P.M., USMS-SWIFT conducted a thorough, systematic search of the

first floor. Immediately, an opening to the attic was observed, with no cover nor door present.

USMS-SWIFT continued to make verbal contact with Matthews, who failed to respond. USMS-

SWIFT occupied the second floor, covering the attic entrance.

At approximately 12:50 P.M., the smell of smoke was detected and observed, with law

enforcement personnel still inside the residence. It appeared to emanate from the front

bedroom, on the second floor. USMS-SWIFT exited the residence and maintained a perimeter.

At no time did law enforcement deploy any device, chemical agent, or any other tactical tool, that could have ignited a flammable source.

Immediately, Albuquerque Fire and Rescue were notified and responded to the scene. By 3:00P.M., Albuquerque Fire and Rescue entered the structure to conduct fire suppression and locate any injured parties in the affected areas. No victims were initially found.

At 3:15 P.M., USMS-SWIFT began to clear the residence, with a focus on the garage. Matthews was located hiding in a freezer. Matthews was subsequently removed from the residence and was cleared by medical professionals before being federally booked.

“This is an example of the extremes these violent criminals will go to in order to avoid the

consequences of their actions,” said Sonya K. Chavez, US Marshal for the District of New

Mexico. “This individual put the entire community at risk, particularly the firefighters and law

enforcement personnel who pulled him out of the still smoldering house,“ she added.

In addition to his federal record, Matthews has a state record dating back to 2016 ranging from stealing vehicles to fraud over $20,000.


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