By David Stevens
Authorities are investigating whether dozens of citations issued by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety include forged signatures of criminal suspects, according to court documents filed in 9th Judicial District Court.
The court records do not explain why citations may have been forged. Investigators have learned that at least some of the citations in question were never filed in court, records show.
A search warrant was issued March 16 for the office of Clovis DPS Agent Delores Ledezma-Pinon. Officials seized miscellaneous paper work, computer records and numerous driver’s licenses and identification cards, court records show.
Ledezma-Pinon, who works with the Special Investigations Division in Clovis, was placed on paid administrative leave last week, according to her attorney, Rob Perry of Albuquerque.
Perry said his client is the subject of a criminal investigation, but he did not know the nature of the allegations against her.
He said he’s heard rumors that his client is suspected of writing false citations.
“She categorically denies that she wrote any false citations,” Perry said.
No charges have been filed against Ledezma-Pinon.
Court records show Ledezma-Pinon’s supervisor, Sgt. Jessie Carter, reported he had “found several citations that he believed were forged” and that he had “marked numerous citations that he believed had false signatures …”
About 45 documents were reviewed, from 2003 to this year. The review showed citations with signatures of defendants that did not appear to match signatures on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the court records show.
Some of those named in citations denied having received a citation when contacted by investigators.
Officials said one man could not have received a citation because he was in jail at the time.
The only citations mentioned in the court record were for violations of open-container laws.
Perry said his client is scheduled to meet with DPS officials early next week in Albuquerque to answer questions related to their investigation.
Perry, a former deputy director of New Mexico State Police, said it’s routine for copies of all citations to be sent to an agent’s supervisor, in addition to the court clerk.
He said the only motivation he could think of for an agent to file a false citation with a supervisor but not with the court would be to pad statistics. He said his client would not do that.
Perry said he will not allow Ledezma-Pinon to answer questions from the media.
DPS officials declined to comment on Friday, referring questions to Communications Director Peter Olson, who did not return telephone calls. Olson has said previously it is “inappropriate” to comment on personnel matters.