HomeLatest NewsAlbuquerque's Dirty Cops: Busted in DWI Extortion Plot with Local Lawyer

Albuquerque’s Dirty Cops: Busted in DWI Extortion Plot with Local Lawyer

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The Justice Department is scrutinizing the police department of Albuquerque in New Mexico over an alleged DWI scam perpetrated on police officers by an attorney. This story highlights the importance of transparency and accountability when it comes to law enforcement.

The Albuquerque Police Department collaborates with a defense lawyer to extort cash from residents who are accused of driving under the influence.

Carlos Smith was the subject of one of the reports. He was stopped for speeding during a routine traffic check. The bodycam of Officer Joshua Montano showed his interaction with Smith. He subjected him to several field sobriety tests that led to an unnecessary arrest.

On the lapel video, Albuquerque Police DWI officer Joshua Montano can be heard saying “I’m Office Montano from APD, and I stopped you because of speeding.” Smith responded, “Yes sir.”

The 42-year-old was stopped by Officer Montano at I-25 and Central.

“Carlos, what’s up with you driving so fast?” the officer asked. I apologize. I was trying to move over into the next lane so that I could get onto the freeway. Smith said, “My bad.”

Officer Montano ran Smith through several field sobriety tests. Smith confessed, “I’m worried,” adding that he was worried about his 16-year-old cousin watching in the car.

Smith replied, “I don’t want to leave my cousin.” “I have to be an example.” “I shouldn’t of speed. I’m sorry, sir.”

“Okay, let’s see how you do,” Officer Montano responded.

Smith passes the eye test and walks in a straight line. He mentions that his knee hurts when asked to stand on one leg. “This is my bad knee. Can I use this leg instead?” Smith asks. “Any leg you’d like,” Officer Montano replied.

Smith counts backward and successfully recites part of the alphabet. The officer told Smith, “I have to give the chance to you to perform a breath test.”

Smith is then placed in handcuffs, and taken to the Prisoner Transportation Center downtown. Smith admitted to KRQE that he was “lost and confused”. “I didn’t even know what to say.” “I had no other choice than to do as he requested.”

Smith, who had left his cousin waiting for a ride to take him home, willingly underwent two breathalyzers. Montano placed his lapel cam at a distance from Smith during the breathalyzer tests.

The plot thickened as Smith was arrested for DWI despite blowing twice below the legal limit.

The story became even more suspect the next day when Smith got a voicemail explaining that some of Montano’s possessions had gone missing.

“Hello Carlos, Officer Montano from APD is calling. I called you because I noticed that some of your jewelry had been missing since Sunday night. I’m not sure if you know, but you’re probably aware. It looks like PTC officers did not put it in your bag but I do.”

Smith claims that Officer Montano informed him in a subsequent phone call that he would be able to get his bracelet from his lawyer friend. Smith replied that he had been given the phone number of Thomas Clear’s law office when asked.

Smith secretly taped their conversation when he visited Clear’s offices. The paralegal of the attorney guaranteed that Smith’s DWI case would be dismissed if he paid $8,500. The lawyer’s code of ethics prohibits guaranteeing the outcome of any case.

Smith’s case is not isolated. A federal investigation revealed in another report that almost 200 DWI’s were dismissed because of concerns over the officers’ credibility. Reports highlighted the case of an officer who repeatedly failed to appear before a court. This led to several dismissals. The case was brought to the attention of the federal government after a police officer mistakenly pulled over a person.

The man who was pulled over worked for the second district court. His boss, Katrina Watson of the court executive office, sent a letter to APD’s Police Oversight Agency and the Supreme Court.

Day stated, “The CEO, court officer, and the court say this is fishy because the employee claims the officer who stopped him told him to contact this lawyer.” We guarantee that the case will be dropped.

The driver was arrested ten days after receiving the letter for driving under the influence and refusing a breath test. Three months after the driver was stopped, charges were filed.

“That is just not possible; it’s never happened.” Day stated that there was something “very, very fishy” about the situation. It looks like an officer is trying to cover up after being caught.

The alleged scheme goes like this: A police officer stops a resident, and accuses them of DWI. Clear will then dismiss the case for a large fee. The individual’s record will no longer show a DWI.

The officer who made the initial traffic stop, and then the arrest, “forgets”, to appear in court for testimony after the payment has been made. In most states, the case will be dismissed if the police officer fails to appear at the court date of the recipient.

One of the officers had missed court 99 times between 2013 and 2014.

This case has profound implications, especially if the FBI digs further and uncovers more evidence of wrongdoing. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit in Carlos Smith’s name that could reveal even more troubling information against the Department.

It will be a further demonstration of the need for law enforcement to take responsibility. Law enforcement officers abused their position to take advantage of unwary civilians. This cannot be ignored.

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