LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The former Doña Ana County sheriff who oversaw a deputy accused of evidence hoarding told ABC-7 he was not aware of the allegations or the arrest.
"It breaks my heart that something like that happened and that it happened under my watch as sheriff," Todd Garrison said in an exclusive interview with ABC-7.
When ABC-7 called the former sheriff, he was not aware that his former employee was arrested last week and accused of hoarding 72 pieces of evidence in his garage.
"This was a failure of leadership," current Sheriff Kim Stewart told reporters on Friday.
"I have to agree," Garrison said. "I think it's a lack of leadership on the part of people overseeing him."
Vincent Lopez was a deputy from 2003 to 2014, according to the department, and he investigated adult and child sex crimes during part of that time.
Garrison said he assigned multiple supervisors to oversee the work of investigators.
"I don't know how that slipped through the cracks," Garrison said. "Working closely with the district attorney's office, I just don't understand how that ball was dropped to that degree."
Garrison called the arrest a "black eye" on the law enforcement community. While he was troubled by the allegations, he said the public should continue to trust the officers and deputies in their communities.
"We're there to serve the public," the former sheriff said. "I think right now, the way things are, we can just try harder and harder to do a better job and let the public know we are there to serve them and to take care of them and protect them."