Sunland Park Fire Chief Andres Burciaga Jr. was indicted for allegedly embezzling more than $500 by a grand jury in Las Cruces on Thursday. It is a 4th degree felony offense.
According to court documents (which you can view at the bottom of this article), Burciaga is accused of driving his work vehicle for personal use. ABC-7 obtained a statement of fact which said Burciaga told an investigator he twice drove a work vehicle to his goat ranch in far east El Paso for emergencies only. And during a one-month period earlier in 2019, his vehicle logged more than 2,200 miles. He claimed he was not told there was a limit to how many miles he could log on the vehicle.
The documents also stated he spent $744 on boots and clothing in 2018. According to the acting fire chief, none of the boots were given out to firefighters in the department. The documents stated Burciaga admitted to purchasing the boots and clothing and taking them to his office, but he doesn’t know what happened to them.
According to the mayor of Sunland Park, Capt. Dennis Schoen is now the acting chief while Burciaga is under investigation. Burciaga has been on paid administrative leave for 6 months and continues to be paid his $70,000 annual salary.
Court documents indicated Burciaga has been with the department for 20 years, spending 10 years of that time as the chief.
The documents also stated he has previous convictions for DWI and interference with communications.
He has yet to be arrested.