While office holders in the state continue with their ridiculous rhetoric that “all is well” and “we’re moving forward,” the reality is things in New Mexico in general, and in Albuquerque in particular are not well. And like little toads in a pot of gradually boiling water, it seems the general public has no problem with the stage that is being set in anticipation of a boil-over.
Earlier this week, the murder trial of former APD officer Levi Chavez took a bizarre turn. In pre-trial arguments, Chavez’s defense lawyer David Serna successfully argued that the court should seal the hearings from public view (READ IT HERE).
Strangely enough, Chavez’s lawyer argued the state has sensationalized the case thus warranting the sealing. Last time the Eye checked, when an active duty police officer is indicted for murdering his wife and is suspected of being involved in a massive international crime ring, the state doesn’t need to sensationalize the case. The case speaks for itself!!!
However, Judge Eichenwald of the 13th Judicial District court agreed (some say the deal was already “sealed”) and order the hearing to be sealed at least until the trial is set to begin. We at the Eye are concerned about this because many of the nastier details of a trial are hammered out in pre-trial practice and now are at risk of being concealed. And this case is rife with nasty details which affect Albuquerque, RJ Berry, and APD’s chief, Ray Schultz:
1. Which exact APD officers arrived at the scene of the murder?
2. Why were they there and for how long were they there?
3. Why did so many go down there?
4. What did they do which interfered with Valencia County Sheriff’s Deputies investigation?
5. What brass (other than former APD lieutenant Shawn O’Connell) were in contact with officers there?
6. Why was APOA president Ron Olivas there and what did he do?
7. What is former APD officer Pete Dwyer’s connection with Levi Chavez and his stolen truck?
8. What is in Levi Chavez’s personnel file that precluded him from being terminated as a P 2/C when so many supervisors recommended he be terminated?
9. Who was Levi Chavez working with in APD?
10. What supervisors acted on Levi Chavez’s misconduct and what supervisors remained silent?
11. Why was Allen Banks in contact with personnel involved with the scene?
Lurking in the background in this case are the sinister elements of Mexican drug cartels known as La Linea and the Sinaloa drug cartels. Sinaloa is the largest Mexican criminal enterprise and La Linea is the tactical/enforcer arm of the Juarez Cartel. To be sure, elements of these criminal organizations are present here in New Mexico AND Albuquerque.
Think about every time there’s a brutal slaying of a Mexican national and how little news it gets (since when does the throat slashing of a 2-yr old bot and his mother NOT make headlines...).
The real cops and good guys in APD, BCSO, and even federal law enforcement tell us cars, guns, and money flow south to Mexico while drugs flow north. They come up I-25 and then split three ways across the country East and West on I-40 and North on I-25 with Albuquerque as the distribution hub for this network.
Don’t kid yourselves folks, what happened earlier this week affects us all. The sealing and HIDING of the court record now protects not only criminals outside of the Chavez trial, but protects those that are compromised by their INACTION to be real police officers and combat pawns of Sinaloa and La Linea. After all, when a police chief looks the other way while there is gross/criminal misconduct and refuses to investigate massive complex crime, isn’t that truly an action of endorsement? Doesn't that reinforce the type of criminal conduct that leads to dozens of bodies showing up on the west side?
And isn’t it odd that Mr. Serna’s motion to seal the court’s record doesn’t even really protect his client from what he claims as “unfairly prejudicial” material. But it does protect the people that attempted to cover up a murder scene and are possibly involved in other massive crimes….
Please join us in our effort to petition to vacate Judge Eichenwald’s order and maintain our system of public trials.