BARTON COUNTY — Law enforcement authorities are investigating a suspect who tried but failed to hide from them.
Just after 1p.m. Friday, deputies attempted execute arrest warrants at 260 N. Washington just north of the City of Great Bend, according to Sheriff Brian Bellendir.
Deputies had three felony warrants for John Paul Zapata but were unable to make contact with the individual him. While deputies were at the location, Zapata took photographs of the Sheriff’s vehicles setting outside of his residence and sent them to other people.
These other individuals promptly notified the Sheriff’s Office, confirming Zapata was inside the house.
Zapata also stated in his text messages law enforcement was going to have to come in and get him. Deputies continued to knock and announce their presence and Zapata refused to come to the door.
A search warrant was obtained, and deputies repeatedly tried to make contact by voice and telephone. Zapata refused to cooperate.
The Sheriff’s office has executed search warrants at this residence before resulting in recovery of guns, methamphetamine and currency, according to Bellendir.
The Sheriff’s office was hesitant to make a forced entry immediately. Teargas was deployed twice. Sheriff’s officers forced entry and after a thorough search of the house Zapata was found hiding in a crawlspace to avoid the effects of the teargas. He refused to come out at which time several Sheriff’s deputies went into the crawlspace and removed him.
Zapata was placed under arrest at about 5:00 PM and transported to the Barton County Jail and booked on charges of interference with law enforcement officer, criminal threat, felony warrant for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, felony warrant for domestic battery, stalking as well as violation of the PFA and other charges. Zapata is being held without bond on one of the felony warrants and various bonds amounts on the other charges.
The Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Great Bend Fire Department and EMS as well as the K9 officer and a detective from the Great Bend Police Department.