- Associated Press - Thursday, May 8, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - A former Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputy arrested earlier this week on drug charges was found dead in his west Phoenix home Thursday in an apparent suicide, authorities said.

Deputies went to the home of Ramon “Charley” Armendariz to serve an arrest warrant because he didn’t get an electronic ankle monitor Wednesday as ordered by a judge, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

“We got a court order to arrest him. We found him on the floor. Evidently, he hung himself,” Arpaio said. “It’s a sad situation.”

Armendariz, 40, resigned from the sheriff’s office May 2 after nearly nine years with the agency.

A day earlier, he had called Phoenix police to report a burglary in progress at his home. Arriving officers reported finding Armendariz armed with a pepper ball gun and chasing a phantom burglar.

After determining Armendariz was a sheriff’s deputy, police turned the case over to the sheriff’s office. Detectives issued a search warrant at the home late last week and found methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia.

Police went to the home again Sunday night after friends of Armendariz called 911 because they were concerned that he was threatening to harm himself. After a nearly nine-hour barricade situation, he surrendered peacefully to authorities early Monday and was taken to a psychiatric center.

Armendariz was later booked into jail on suspicion of possession of dangerous drugs, misconduct involving weapons and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was released Tuesday after his initial court appearance under the condition that he is electronically monitored. He was scheduled to return to court May 19 and May 23 but didn’t have an attorney yet.

Last year, Armendariz was mentioned in a federal judge’s ruling on racial profiling during the sheriff’s immigration patrols.

In May 2013, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow concluded that the sheriff’s office had systematically racially profiled Latinos in its immigration and regular traffic patrols, and unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people during traffic stops.

Armendariz is mentioned by name several times in Snow’s ruling.

“Approximately 77 percent of the arrests made by Deputy Armendariz during large-scale saturation patrols had Hispanic surnames (and) 100 percent of the persons he arrested during the limited sampling of small-scale patrols had Hispanic surnames,” the ruling said. “The Court concludes that Deputy Armendariz considered race as one factor among others in making law enforcement decisions during both large- and small-scale saturation patrols.”

Arpaio has vigorously denied his agency racially profiles people and has appealed Snow’s ruling.

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