Missing sheriffs evidence investigated

SmallTownPapers, Inc., The Raton Range (New Mexico)
BYLINE: Todd Wildermuth

Colfax County, NM

Money and marijuana are missing from the evidence room of the Colfax County Sheriff's Office and state police are investigating the situation.

"There is some evidence missing," Sheriff Pat Casias confirmed. He said when the evidence was discovered missing about three weeks ago, he requested state police investigate.

A state police spokesman said the investigation is continuing.

Casias declined to comment further on the situation, citing the ongoing investigation.

County Manager Don Day said he has received some information about what is allegedly missing. He said the missing items are about $21,000 and some marijuana. He did not know how much marijuana. Day said the money -- likely seized as suspected drug money from someone traveling through the area -- had already been forfeited to the sheriff's department by a court, but the money had not yet been deposited in the bank.

The evidence room from which the items turned up missing is in the sheriff's department in the county courthouse on North Third Street.

Eighth Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos in Taos said Tuesday state police have not yet given his office a report from the investigation of the missing evidence. He said that when the report is turned in, he will likely be the one to review it initially and decide the next step to avoid his staff in Raton -- which works regularly with the Colfax County Sheriff's Office -- having to handle it. Gallegos said he could decide to pass on the report and further decision-making process -- which could include potential criminal charges -- to a district attorney outside the Eighth Judicial District of Taos, Colfax and Union counties to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest.

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