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DA’s Office Never Okd APD’s Reverse Sting Affidavit

DA’s Office Never Okd APD’s Reverse Sting Affidavit

Brandenburg Says Her Office Discourages Reverse Sting Operations False affidavit puts drug arrests in jeopardy BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said Wednesday that her office never signed off on, or consulted with the Albuquerque Police Department on a court-approved affidavit that gives APD permission to sell heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and

Brandenburg Says Her Office Discourages Reverse Sting Operations

False affidavit puts drug arrests in jeopardy

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said Wednesday that her office never signed off on, or consulted with the Albuquerque Police Department on a court-approved affidavit that gives APD permission to sell heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and methamphetamines to people and then arrest them on drug charges.

An APD detective apparently presented the affidavit to a state District Court judge on Feb. 23. The affidavit said it was being presented in conjunction with the DA’s Office. “Comes now the State of New Mexico, through its Assistant District Attorney and Affiant Detective Marc Clingenpeel,” the affidavit said.

But the document did not contain the name or initials of any ADA, and Brandenburg told ABQ Free Press that her office was not involved in its preparation. “We have confirmed that our office did not sign off on, or consult the police department on the affidavit and order of February 25th,” Brandenburg said.

The affidavit was filed in the court Clerk’s Office on Feb. 25.

Brandenburg added that drug cases being prosecuted under the reverse sting operation authorized by the affidavit could now be challenged because the affidavit isn’t true. “It certainly gives lie for challenge that the affidavit is untrue, that it has information that is inaccurate, and therefore, isn’t valid.” Brandenburg said.

Pete Dinelli, the city’s former Public Safety director, said APD lied in making it appear the DA’s office had been consulted on the affidavit. “The pleading that was filed is a clear misrepresentation and a misleading of the district court. It rises to the level of perpetrating a fraud upon the court,” Dinelli said. “It just confirms that you have a narc division that is out of control.”

The affidavit added that police would use up to eight ounces each of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and meth as part of the reverse sting operation. “The Albuquerque Police Department’s Narcotics Unit will use the heroin, methamphetamines, crack cocaine and/or cocaine, obtained from the Albuquerque Police Department’s Evidence Unit to sell to individuals who are seeking to purchase drugs within the City of Albuquerque,” the affidavit said.

Brandenburg said that reverse stings “are longstanding and have been going on for decades. We know that we have prosecuted these kinds of cases in the past 16 years, but we really don’t have a database and can’t really verify [how many cases have been prosecuted,” Brandenburg said. She added that the affidavit’s language about working in conjunction with the DA’s office is “pretty standard” and speculated that the detective might have copied and pasted the language from a previously approved affidavit. But, she added, “you would not put that in if you had not consulted with us.”

The affidavit and order also gave APD permission to manufacture crack cocaine. But Dinelli said that state law prohibits the manufacturing of illegal drugs and that it contains no exception for law enforcement. “There are other states that have an exception, but New Mexico does not,” Dinelli said. “This is a practice that should be immediately stopped and the judge should be asked to quash the order and suspend the practice.

Brandenburg said that here office discourages reverse sting operations because of the manpower shortage at APD.

Dinelli said APD is showing its true colors in the way it handled the affidavit. “Once again it is a reflection of the ongoing, cavalier, cowboy approach to law enforcement by APD,” Dinelli said.

 

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.
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4 Comments

  • Pete Dinelli
    May 18, 2016, 5:26 pm

    My worse fears have been confirmed by this report and frankly I am not at all surprised. The APD Narcotics unit never had the DA review the document, even though it said it did, nor sign off on APD manufacturing drugs and selling drugs. There is no "law enforcement" exception in New Mexico state statute giving APD the authority to manufacture drugs. The question is, was this “reverse sting operation” approved by the APD chain of command, and if so, what the hell were they thinking. This action by the Narcotics Unit tells me nothing has changed and APD is still out of control.

    REPLY
  • Pete Dinelli
    May 18, 2016, 5:26 pm

    My worse fears have been confirmed by this report and frankly I am not at all surprised. The APD Narcotics unit never had the DA review the document, even though it said it did, nor sign off on APD manufacturing drugs and selling drugs. There is no "law enforcement" exception in New Mexico state statute giving APD the authority to manufacture drugs. The question is, was this “reverse sting operation” approved by the APD chain of command, and if so, what the hell were they thinking. This action by the Narcotics Unit tells me nothing has changed and APD is still out of control.

    REPLY
    • The Mole@Pete Dinelli
      May 19, 2016, 9:59 am

      Hey, Mr. Dinelli, how about a little full disclosure on your part? Mention that you’re a once and future mayoral candidate. And maybe admit that the language that was copied and pasted into this affidavit goes back to similar affidavits used for the last 20 years, ie when you yourself were a Chief Deputy DA. And that regardless of the fact that your DA’s Office likely gave APD the same OK to manufacture crack, there’s no indication that it’s ever been done since APD evidence is already awash in crack seized as the part of normal enforcement operations. You want to help, figure out a way to give addicts real jobs/educations/purposes and the need for reversal operations will largely evaporate. In the meantime, though APD is clearly faced with a multitude of issues, many of which the current administration still pretends don’t exist, your potshots of false piety help no one but yourself.

      REPLY
      • Pete Dinelli@The Mole
        May 20, 2016, 10:31 am

        TO The MOLE: I have not been with the DA’s office for over 16 years and the policy back then was for ADA’s to review and approve pleadings, including search warrants and affidavits file by cops for legal sufficiency. Your "cut and paste" argument is laughable and embarrassing. I am still a licensed attorney. Having run for office 4 years ago, let alone what I may or may not be be doing in the future, means nothing and does not disqualify me for questioning a very bad law enforcement policy. When I was a narcotics prosecutor, I went after the high end dealers and violent criminals, not no level street users. When I ran for office, I ran on a platform of job creation and police oversight and APD reforms. Also I do not hide behind little cute posting names like "the mole" to take "pot shots", using your words, at people. Have a nice day..

        REPLY
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