Repeat DWI Offenders Cases Dismissed in Albuquerque

Following an investigation into the Albuquerque Police DWI unit, the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office dropped 195 DWI cases. A Target 7 probe found a further 42 cases were also dismissed including a number of repeat offenders. Some of these offenders had as many as 7-8 DWI charges previously. Linda Atkinson, the executive director of the DWI Resource center, called for co-operation between police, prosecutors and the courts to address systemic issues in handling DWI cases.

Among the dismissed cases were ones related to repeat offenders including Rayburn Apache, who had 20 bookings at Metropolitan Detention Center, Fernando Ornelas-Salcido, with five bookings and Jose Chavez and Ricky Toledo with 17 and eight bookings respectively. Notably, several officers under investigation were implicated in these arrests.

An examination of the status of the dismissed cases found that 21 of the offenders had warrants due to court no-shows, with a further 20 cases in different stages of the trial process. The investigation also brought to light that the five officers being probed didn’t appear 29 times in court since 2019 in relation to cases involving a prominent DWI attorney also under investigation. The names of these officers have not been disclosed as charges haven’t been filed yet.

However, due to cops under probe being necessary witnesses to prove the cases beyond a reasonable doubt, the DA’s office had to dismiss 195 instances. A total of 2,097 DWI cases were filed in 2023, of which, 659 are pending, and 1,019 ended in DWI convictions involving all law enforcement agencies.

The story is ongoing and updates will be given upon availability of more information. For up-to-date local news, download the KOAT app.

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