Column: Murder on Pueblo land still a mystery after 18 years

"This stretch of highway that carves off a triangle between Interstates 25 and 40 and slices through Laguna Pueblo hasn’t changed much in 18 years. Mount Taylor hovers in the hazy distance to the northwest, and Ladron Peak presents its craggy blue faces on the southern horizon. In between those landmarks lie miles of brush and grassland, cut through only by an undulating ribbon of blacktop.

Only 33 miles long, N.M. 6 is often called desolate, remote, lonely. It also holds a mystery, one it has held in a tight fist for nearly 20 years.

Midmorning on Aug. 25, 1994, two employees of Wells Fargo Armored Services Corp. were on a routine weekly cash run between Los Lunas and Grants, traveling on N.M. 6. Although the route was routine, other details weren’t.

Wells Fargo usually used armored trucks, but, on this day, the truck was in the shop and the two-man team made the trip in an ordinary Budget rental van. That meant Jeff Oelcher, the driver, and Chuck Mills, the armed guard who sat in the back with $100,000 in cash, were protected by nothing more than the bulletproof vests they were wearing.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m., as the couriers were approximately midway between Los Lunas and I-40 on N.M. 6, they were passed by a driver in a red sedan. About five minutes later, they approached a pickup truck with a camper shell, parked on a pullout on the side of the highway. The bed of the truck was facing the road, and the camper shell window was raised."

Get the Story:
Leslie Linthicum: Murder Mystery Lingers in Lonesome Road Shootout (The Albuquerque Journal 11/18)

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