Man escorted off Amtrak train, charged with possession of stolen handgun

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A Maricopa police officer inspects the luggage hold of an Amtrak train at the Maricopa station in May 2021. [File photo]

An Amtrak passenger faces theft and gun charges after he was escorted off a train in Maricopa, according to police. 

Ryan Nieves, 20, was charged May 7 with possession of stolen property, misconduct involving weapons and trespassing third degree, according to Maricopa police. 

At 12:15 p.m. that day, police were dispatched to the Amtrak station at 44650 W. Mercado St. to assist in removing Nieves from the train, according to a probable cause statement. He was accused by Amtrak of trespassing after he did not get off in Yuma, where his ticket expired, police said. 

Police boarded the train in Maricopa, the next eastbound stop after Yuma on the Sunset Limited route. Once inside the passenger compartment, a conductor pointed officers toward Nieves, who was sleeping in a reclined chair with a blanket over his body, police said. Nieves was later identified by police by his Rhode Island identification card. 

Officers woke Nieves and asked if he had any identification. According to the probable cause statement, Nieves grabbed a backpack near his feet and started to reach into a side pocket when officers told him to stop and asked if he had any weapons. Nieves told officers that he had a knife, but it was only for protection, police said. 

Nieves told officers he could take the knife out of the backpack, and held it out for the officers, who responded they would not reach into anything they could not see, police said. Nieves allegedly refused to give the backpack to officers, police said. 

A subsequent inspection of the backpack turned up a blue Glock 42 in the pocket that Nieve had been reaching into, the probable cause statement said. 

After securing the handgun, officers handcuffed Nieves and told him he was under arrest for trespassing, police said. 

Later, Nieves allegedly told police that he had the Glock for two weeks but did not remember where he acquired it, police said. He also said a friend gave him the gun, but he would not identify the friend, police said. 

The firearm was confirmed as stolen April 24 in Cold Springs, Kentucky, the probable cause statement said.  

Nieves was taken to Pinal County Jail on the charges, police said.