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What to know about the alleged scheme involving APD DWI officers


There are still many questions surrounding the federal investigation into multiple Albuquerque police officers.

On Tuesday, KOB 4 learned this has been going on for a decade, and APD first learned about an alleged scheme involving the officers in late 2022.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There are still many questions surrounding the federal investigation into multiple Albuquerque police officers. On Tuesday, KOB 4 learned this has been going on for a decade, and APD first learned about an alleged scheme involving the officers in late 2022.

The investigation has led the Bernalillo County district attorney to dismiss more than 150 DWI cases.

A handful of officers and attorneys have appeared multiple times on the list of dismissed cases by the district attorney’s office. KOB 4 will not release those names at this time, because charges have not been filed.

OFFICERS

KOB 4 knows that one officer – who we are identifying as Officer A – was an arresting officer in more than 70 of the dismissed DWI cases. This officer was also named the 2023 MADD Officer of the Year for New Mexico.

We searched the city website to see what the officers were making. Officer A and two others on our list are among the highest-paid officers within APD – with one of them making $225,000 last year. That’s only about $1,000 less than the police chief.

Another officer – who we are identifying as Officer B – was actually hit and severely injured by a drunk driver in 2022. The community came together for Officer B and raised thousands of dollars via a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.

The federal investigation involves at least five officers. Four are on administrative leave and the fifth is a sergeant who has been reassigned. All five of them are part of the DWI unit.

On Tuesday, APD Chief Harold Medina sat down with KOB 4 one-on-one for an interview where he said one of his officers alerted him to what was going on.

“A deputy chief came to me and said, chief, we have a confidential source, so said they overheard a conversation, believe it was DWI officers. And that one had made the comment that they were making money off of DWI stops,” Medina said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI aren’t releasing much information.

DEFENSE ATTORNEY

KOB 4 confirmed last week that FBI agents raided an Albuquerque attorney’s office in a Mid Heights neighborhood.

To show how these attorneys and officers worked together, KOB 4 pulled all of the DWI cases for one of those attorneys, going back 10 years.

In one of the cases – not on the list of dismissed cases by the DA’s office – a drunk driver was arrested by two of the repeatedly-named officers. Then the alleged drunk driver hired the attorney whose office was raided.

At trial two weeks ago, a prosecutor dismissed the case because the officer didn’t show up to court.

“I think that they just developed such a close relationship with other members of the criminal justice system that they were able to hide things very well,” Medina said. “And this goes to show how complex and how thoughtful the scheme was.”

The obvious question is why didn’t the officer show up? KOB 4 found that this scenario played out in case after case that we reviewed. One of these five officers makes a DWI arrest, the defendant hires a particular attorney, the officer doesn’t show up to court, and prosecutors have to dismiss the case.

KOB 4 reached out to this particular attorney and we have not heard back.

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