AZTEC — Deputies arrested two men for stealing about 15 guns and ammunition from a home near Navajo Dam, the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.

Investigators said a recently evicted tenant broke into the home and stole the weapons.

Lyle Howell, 19, was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary, larceny, disposing of stolen property and criminal damage to property.

Markus Johnson, 19, was charged with larceny, accessory to larceny, receiving stolen property and disposing of stolen property.

Howell and Johnson allegedly committed the crime in late February and they were arrested March 1.

Lt. Cory Tanner said in a news release Howell was a former tenant at a home on County Road 4277, which is near Navajo Dam.

Jesse Zachary, the homeowner, evicted Howell and his family from the property in February and reported his guns were missing on February 24, according to court documents.

Zachary said 15 guns were stolen, including rifles, shotguns and pistols, according to court documents.
Investigators tracked down Howell and Johnson and both confessed to the crime, Tanner said. 

Howell, who is a military police officer for the National Guard, waived his preliminary hearing last week and his case was bound over to district court.


Johnson is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in Aztec Magistrate Court on Thursday, according to a state court website.

Det. Tim Nyce said investigators found 10 of the missing guns in a makeshift gun locker in Johnson’s garage.

Two of the guns were allegedly sold to a man from Colorado Springs, Colo. in exchange for the boat.

The Colorado man didn’t know the guns were stolen and he returned them to the owner, Nyce said.

The homeowner said three guns are still missing, Nyce said.

Investigators believe Howell stole the guns and Johnson was an accessory who let Howell store the guns in Johnson’s garage, Nyce said.