Detention officer assaulted by burglary suspect

Joseph Lussi, a suspect in a case involving silver bars stolen from a Pagosa area home, is behind bars again, and now faces allegations he assaulted a jailer while being held in the Archuleta County Jail.

Archuleta County Undersheriff and Public Information Officer John Weiss said Lussi is being held on suspicion of second-degree assault on a peace officer following an incident Oct. 24.

According to Weiss, Lussi’s troubles began Sept. 23 when he was arrested for the alleged theft of silver bars from a local residence that were then pawned and sold in Durango and Farmington, N.M.

According the Archuleta County Sheriff Det. Carl Smith, Lussi was initially arrested on a warrant listing three second-degree burglary charges, related to three suspected incidents at the same Pagosa area residence.

Smith said Lussi was a handyman at the residence, which was unoccupied by its owners at the time of the alleged thefts. Lussi, said Smith, had keys to the residence as well as a garage door opener for the garage at the house.

According to Smith, Lussi allegedly entered the residence three times between July 10 and July 16 and, each time, took a 68-pound bar of silver from the site. The bars each have an estimated value of $18,000 and Smith’s investigation indicated Lussi allegedly sold two of the bars in Farmington, N.M. netting a total of $19,000.

According to Weiss, Lussi was released on bond the same day as his arrest — Sept. 23.

However, Weiss said a subsequent investigation linked to the silver bars resulted in the State of New Mexico issuing a warrant for Lussi for fraud and disposing of stolen property. Weiss said Archuleta County Sheriff deputies arrested Lussi Oct. 16 in Pagosa Springs in connection with the New Mexico warrant.

While being held in the Archuleta County Jail, Lussi’s initial bond for the Sept. 23 arrest was revoked, and he remained in custody on the Pagosa Springs charges and for the New Mexico warrant.

On Oct. 24, while in his cell, Weiss said Lussi became agitated and combative and two jailers were forced to restrain him and move him to another cell. In the process, Lussi allegedly assaulted a detention officer, and after the incident, Lussi was taken to Pagosa Mountain Hospital to be “medically cleared.” Lussi was returned to the jail the same evening.

Weiss would not discuss Lussi’s injuries.

Weiss said the case has been referred to the district attorney who will file formal charges.

Lussi could go before Archuleta County Court Judge Jim Denvir this week.

james@pagosasun.com