How the DWI unit’s probe almost went off the rails

June 9 — Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina was in Las Vegas, Nevada, in November watching Raiders football when he learned that one of his officers – a suspect in a highly confidential information from the FBI – could have been informed of the investigation. .

Medina learned that the city’s civilian police oversight agency informed DWI Officer Honorio Alba Jr. that a high-ranking state court official had alleged “questionable conduct” related to the Alba’s arrest of a court employee for DWI more than two months earlier – an employee against whom Alba had never filed charges. .

The civilian monitoring agency opened an investigation and sent Alba the complaint, which identified the employee. A CPOA investigator told Alba in an attached email: “At this time, you are considered a target of this investigation. »

The news sent Medina into damage control, and hours later he alerted New Mexico U.S. Attorney Alex Uballez about what had happened, according to emails obtained by the Journal.

Uballez, along with the U.S. Department of Justice, is overseeing the ongoing criminal investigation into allegations that DWI agents accepted bribes from a defense attorney and paralegal at Albuquerque in exchange for not filing court citations or failing to appear in court for drunk driving. case. The scheme reportedly lasted more than a decade.

APD’s internal affairs division handles complaints about potential criminal cases, but the CPOA decided to handle Alba’s complaint as an administrative matter instead of referring it to the IA.

The Nov. 3 complaint forwarded to Alba said the officer put Antonio Barron, then a court employee, in contact “with a specific attorney, possibly named ‘Rick,’ who, if hired, would ensure that no legal cases are filed in court by the APD. “.

Two business days after receiving the CPOA complaint, on the morning of November 13, court records show Alba filed DWI charges against Barron, whom he had arrested on August 24, 2023 and released without jail time.

At the same time, Alba also filed DWI citations against three other men he had arrested for DWI in the preceding weeks and months. He sent them all summons to appear in court, but only Barron ultimately showed up. Arrest warrants have been filed against the others for failure to appear in court.

The information raised questions about the actions and procedures of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, which handles investigations of citizen complaints. Her director recently told the Journal that her office followed the law and the Albuquerque Police Officers Association collective bargaining agreement by sending the complaint to Alba and keeping the file internally at first.

Ultimately, Alba was informed that there was nothing to do with the complaint and the investigation was closed. Medina told the Journal last week that he had “canceled” the investigation, which was referred to the IA after his intervention.

It is unclear whether the incident affected the ongoing criminal investigation. No arrests have been…

Read Complete News ➤

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

six + 2 =