Habitual offender arrested after short chase

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Agents with the Region V Drug Task Force served a search warrant around 4:30 p.m. at 711 Fifth Street in search of narcotics, according to Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A convicted habitual drug offender who failed to report to the corrections department from a court-ordered furlough was arrested Monday afternoon after a short vehicle chase.

Matthew Zientara, 36, was captured in the area of Grand Avenue and Maple Street after police rammed the vehicle he was driving, according to Curry County Undersheriff Wesley Waller.

Police were searching Zientara’s residence as part of a drug investigation when they saw Zientara drive by, Waller said. Police attempted to stop him but he fled.

Officers engaged him in a pursuit, he said, which spanned several streets between Seventh Street and Mabry Drive and Prince and Norris streets.

In the area of Grand Avenue and Maple Street, Waller said Zientara attempted to ram a Clovis police officer by driving directly toward the officer’s oncoming unit.

At that point, Waller said, “A Curry County sheriff’s sergeant rammed the suspect’s vehicle and ended the pursuit.”

There were no injuries and there was minor damage to the deputy’s unit, Waller said.

Three other people — Michael Pace, 37, Michelle Desroches, 37, and Jennalee Craig, 33 — were arrested in connection with the drug investigation and pursuit, according Waller.

Zientara is charged with aggravated battery on a peace officer and evading or eluding a police officer.

He and Craig, a passenger in his vehicle during the pursuit, also have pending narcotics charges, Waller said.

Agents found several bags of methamphetamine in a residence at 711 Fifth Street, for which Pace and Desroches were arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia, Waller said.