CLICK HERE TO REPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION (Provide as much information as possible: full names, descriptions, dates, times, activity, witnesses, etc.)

Telephone: 347-632-9775

Saturday, February 6, 2010

FBI Taped Cop Offering Gun to Drug Dealer

FBI allegedly taped NM officer offering gun to dealer
The Albuquerque Journal - February 4, 2010
The officers has been on administrative leave since Oct. 2009

SANTA FE, N.M. — A Santa Fe cop may end up losing his badge after he was caught on an FBI tape promising a gun to a drug dealer "who clearly conveyed his intent to commit murder," according to police documents. Santa Fe police Detective Jose Valencia - who was the police union president at the time the conversation was caught on tape two years ago - was recommended for termination by Chief Aric Wheeler last week, the Journal has learned. The alleged drug dealer is Maximiliano Gonzales of Pecos, whom Valencia has known on some level for years. Valencia has been on administrative leave since October. He also is accused of providing the description of an undercover officer to Gonzales and with making disparaging remarks about fellow officers to the drug suspect, according to state Department of Public Safety documents. But a lawsuit against the city of Santa Fe is in the works, according to an attorney for Valencia who claims his client was the victim of entrapment on the part of "administration higher-ups." Albuquerque attorney Alvin Garcia told the Journal the actions taken against Valencia were a product of a "retaliation" against his client "for reporting corruption (within the department) and not participating in cover-ups." "He was warned that things would come back to bite him," Garcia said. "And they have." Notice of action The allegations against Valencia are spelled out in a DPS document that calls for Valencia's certification as an officer to be revoked, which was written by state Law Enforcement Academy Board director Arthur Ortiz. Valencia is scheduled to go before the board Thursday for a formal hearing. The board is expected to determine his fate at a meeting in March.

The FBI was investigating a separate case two years ago when the agency recorded conversations between Valencia and Gonzales, according to FBI spokesman Darrin Jones. The FBI - which was not investigating Valencia - turned over the information to Santa Fe police and that ended the bureau's involvement in the matter, according to Jones. Jones, who would not say what the FBI investigation was about, said Valencia was not being wiretapped. According to Ortiz's document, Valencia spoke with a "known criminal and drug dealer" by phone Feb. 22 and 26, 2008. During those conversations, Valencia "agreed to provide" a gun to Gonzales, who planned on using it to commit murder, the document states. The document also says Valencia "provided the criminal with a description of an undercover officer who was possibly investigating the criminal, and provided the criminal with information and advice adverse to law enforcement." Another document associated with the academy board investigation states Valencia was "degrading law enforcement by speaking negatively about his fellow officers to a known criminal." And when Santa Fe police talked to Valencia about the incident, the detective "was untruthful with investigating officers," according to Ortiz's reports. The academy board sent Valencia a notice of contemplated action in August. The next month, the detective went before the board for an informal hearing, where Valencia "took no responsibility for his actions, saying it was a misunderstanding because he was conducting a ruse on the informant to obtain information from him," according to the report. Garcia, Valencia's attorney, said Valencia has "been labeled a dirty cop before he has an opportunity to present his side." He contends police administration higher-ups became upset with Valencia after he refused to participate in "cover-ups," but he wouldn't be more specific. Valencia's alleged wrongdoing took place under the administration of former Police Chief Eric Johnson. Current Chief Aric Wheeler was a deputy chief at the time.

Entrapment claim

Valencia was doing his job when he met Gonzales and followed all protocol, without knowing he was being set up, Garcia said. "This guy didn't just fall out of a tree and land at the doorstep and ask for a gun," Garcia said. "They were entrapping him." Garcia denies Valencia was offering to provide a weapon to Gonzales. Garcia also contends the City Attorney's Office has engaged in activity that is "unfair and perhaps illegal" by not producing to his client the Santa Fe police internal affairs documentation or the FBI recordings. Garcia said he expects to file a tort claim notice with the city this week and will spell out his allegations in a coming lawsuit. Garcia said Wheeler recommended Valencia's termination last Thursday, though Wheeler declined to comment on that, citing the case as a confidential personnel matter and the prospect of litigation. The termination must be approved by the city manager, and Valencia will have a chance to appeal. Allan Lopez, who was elected to replace Valencia as head of the Santa Fe Police Officers Association in December, said that if the allegations are true, they would "have a big impact on our Police Department and our extended law enforcement family." Lopez said that the allegations are "serious and alarming" and that, while the union supports due process for everyone, "we can never condone or support these allegations," if they're found to be true. Lopez also said the allegations first surfaced about a year ago, and the Police Department and City Hall administration were aware of them. He said there was a union "no confidence" vote against Valencia in January 2009.

No comments: