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NEWS: Albuquerque Police Cover Up Missing Evidence

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posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 12:36 PM
The Albuquerque police evidence unit is currently embroiled in controversy. The unit's former Captain has been transferred, and a Sergeant who worked in the evidence room has made accusations of a cover-up. The evidence room lost evidence in 235 drug cases due to a chemical leak from other evidence stored there from a meth lab case. Only 20% of those cases have gone to court.
The cover-up allegations are based on reported rampant theft within the unit, and mishandling of evidence. Albuquerque's mayor has promised, "heads will roll."
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- An Albuquerque police officer told the Albuquerque Journal Friday that a cover-up within the department's evidence unit has been going on for years.

Acting Sgt. Cynthia Orr told the paper that Chief Gilbert Gallegos covered up problems with the unit.

"Am I implicating (Gallegos) is assisting to do this cover-up? Absolutely," Orr said. "Do I know this is a dangerous accusation to make? Absolutely. But I know this is something that needs to be done."

Orr worked in the police evidence room and said she spoke to Gallegos about thefts within the department, but he did nothing.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The former head of the Albuquerque Police Department’s evidence unit has been suspended as officials continue examining violations of procedures that led to missing and tainted evidence.

Police department officials confirm that Capt. Marie Miranda, who had been transferred to the foothills division, was told on Wednesday to turn in her equipment and police car until the investigation is completed.

Evidence from 235 drug cases, some still pending, was destroyed in a chemical leak at the Albuquerque Police Department evidence room. Miranda’s attorney, Rob Perry, brought the chemical leak o the attention of APD brass, which said at the time that they welcome Miranda’s information.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The Police Chief, who has been accused of taking place in the cover-up, has ordered a reorganization of the department. According to Sgt. Orr, two of the people she named specifically as taking part in the theft within the unit are still there.

Mayor Martin Chaves says that additional changes will be made in the department, pending the outcome of the Attorney General's investigation.

While no specifics of the cover-up are available, I believe it is referencing the cover-up of conduct of members of the evidence division. Theft is rumored to be rampant, and the chemical leak may have been intentional to hide those thefts.

Related News Links:

[edit on 3/21/2005 by phreak_of_nature]

posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 04:10 PM
It's a gutsy call for a member of the team to break ranks--can even be dangerous.

posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 04:26 PM
This happens all the time. In my experience in law enforcement, the crooked cops always hang out near the evidence room/lab.

There was a HUGE case in Dallas about 3 years ago; but the networks were so in love with the then chief Terrell Bolton that no one would come out and state the obvious. It was reported that 74 cases where narc-squad convictions were obtained for coc aine "turned out to be pool-cue chalk" when tested.

Most of the arrestees had prior drug records. It seemed obvious to most of us in the legal system that the narc unit was stealing the evidence, replacing it, and selling it on the street themselves. Someone in the lab actually tested a sample instead of incinerating it as scheduled, and it turned out that this pair of cops had chalk instead of coc aine, in every single bust they made?

And how do you think they got caught? I'd bet my car payment that a lab tech stole some hisself, and then wondered why he didn't get high. Why else was a busy drug lab in a major city be "testing" evidence in a closed case, instead of incinerating it????? They have like a year's backlog . . .

I once was involved in a case where a person was arrested, and had a gun legally in his possession. We didn't want it lying around the jail in his property box, so we tagged it and bagged it for the evidence locker. It was a beautiful long-barreled 38 revolver with a real ivory handle. The guy eventually (like in 4 weeks!) was exonerated of the charges against him, and when we went to evidence to get his pistol, they "had no record." Which was hilarioius, since I was holding a signed receipt. The arresting agency got the privelege of buying him a new antique pistol.

Anyway. IF you ever get arrested, a good attorney will be pretty stringent with physical 'evidence' submitted for trial. Since that is where most of the foolishness happens. And even honest mistakes.

I always felt that OJ was aquitted largely because LAPD sucked soo bad at evidentiary procedure.

posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 05:39 PM
Thanks dr_strangecraft.

I would wager that most people are aware of the funny business that goes on with evidence. And your story is a very good, probably classic example.

What I find interesting is the statement from Sgt. Orr that the cover-up goes all the way up the chain of command to Chief Gallegos. Knowing that theft, and hinky business happens, and that the cops involved will do what ever they can to get away with it is one thing. But for the Chief of police to be accused of covering it up is a little bigger.

posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 08:37 PM
I'm not belitttling your attitude in the least

I will say that in Dallas, within a year of T. Bolton's promise to "handle" the scandal, Dallas Mayor Laura Miller had fired him for "undisclosed reasons." Can you say "incriminate the comissioners?"

In my admittedly limited experience, corruption ALWAYS goes to the top. You are just not going to take schwag from the evidence safe unless you are confident that "the boys" will cover for you.

posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 09:18 PM

Originally posted by dr_strangecraft

I'm not belitttling your attitude in the least

I didn't take it that way.
I'm just a little surprised, not shocked really, but surprised that a chief od police would stand for this type of thing in his department.

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