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FBI raid of Lordsburg Police Dept. targeted ex-chief, detective for alleged fraud, theft

UPDATE, May 12: LORDSBURG, New Mexico -- Two brothers, Lordsburg's recently retired police chief and a current police detective, are suspected of defrauding the federal government by submitting bogus time sheets to receive grant payments.

Those allegations are contained in federal court documents, obtained by ABC-7, that were filed in support of a search warrant - which led to Tuesday's FBI raid on the Lordsburg Police Department's headquarters as part of a "public corruption investigation."

Former chief Arthur De La Garza, who retired about a month ago, and Det. Eliza De La Garza allegedly claimed to have performed work as part of Operation Stonegarden, a joint federal-local effort to secure the U.S. border. However, the FBI said its own surveillance along with cell phone records show the two men were actually at home or visiting relatives during much of the time they were supposedly working.

The pair are the targets of a federal probe involving a wire fraud and theft scheme after they signed and submitted documents contending they were working when they actually weren't, the FBI said. The court filing said the De La Garza brothers were paid by the City of Lordsburg for working those phony hours - and the city received reimbursement as part of Operation Stonegarden for those payments.

The search warrant granted by the court authorized the FBI to seize police department computers, data and other records. Neither man has yet been charged by federal authorities, who said the criminal case remains under investigation.

ORIGINAL REPORT, May 11: LORDSBURG, New Mexico -- FBI agents raided the Lordsburg Police Department's headquarters on Tuesday as part of an ongoing federal probe, officials confirmed.

FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said agents executed a federal search warrant at the Lordsburg PD, but he declined to discuss what authorities were looking for. He said the warrant remained under seal by judge's order.

While the exact nature of the probe wasn't disclosed, Fisher said the FBI was being aided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Inspector General and the New Mexico State Police.

The Office of the Inspector General is typically involved in audits and investigations that involve allegations of waste, fraud or abuse of federal funding, according to the office's website.

"Since the warrant is sealed and this is an ongoing investigation, we can provide no further details at this time," the FBI's Fisher said.

Local News / New Mexico / News / Top Stories / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Comments

6 Comments

  1. Dan landers you never fail to be an idiot. Deflecting is your white nature when you see something you don’t like. Trumpism. In this article I call it “piggy on piggy”. You must be one. A full blooded PIG.

  2. This is not a good thing for our region especially when we have so many good and decent law enforcement people who are tarnished by this kind of behavior.

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