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Violent gang member, sex offender who led police on a high-speed chase, gets 60 years

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Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis announced that Arnulfo Mercado-Pena Jr., a habitual offender and violent gang member, was sentenced to 60 years in prison after the jury found him guilty of Evading Arrest with a Vehicle while using a Deadly Weapon.

In October 2017, Princeton Police Officer Curtis Humphreys observed Mercado-Pena, 32 years old and from Paris, Texas, speeding at 98 MPH on U.S. 380. Officer Humphreys attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but Mercado-Pena refused to pull over. Mercado-Pena led Humphreys on a high-speed chase for several miles along U.S. 380. 

Eventually, Mercado-Pena turned off of U.S. 380, slowed to a low speed, and jumped from his vehicle while it was still moving. Officer Humphreys pursued Mercado-Pena on foot for a short distance before Mercado-Pena surrendered. Officer Humphreys arrested Mercado-Pena and took him into custody. 

The jury found Mercado-Pena guilty and also found that Mercado-Pena used a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense, specifically a motor vehicle. 

During the punishment phase of the trial, prosecutors introduced evidence of Mercado-Pena’s prior convictions including Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, Failure to Stop and Render Aid, Aggravated Assault, and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Additionally, Plano Police Officer Erin Merrit testified how Mercado-Pena’s multiple tattoos identify Mercado-Pena as a member of the gang Tango Blast. 

Judge John Roach Jr. presided over the case and found that Mercado-Pena’s multiple convictions made him “a habitual offender,” and sentenced him to 60 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorneys Bobby Huber and Luke Calhoun prosecuted the case. They were aided by District Attorney Investigators Ryan Harvey and Michael Coleman.