9th APD Officer Implicated In APD Bribery And Conspiracy Scandal To Dismiss DWI Cases Placed On Leave; 6 APD Police Officers Implicated Have Resigned;  Mayor Keller and Chief Medina Refuse To Take Any Responsibility For Scandal

On May 8, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD)  announced that a ninth APD Police officer has been placed  on leave in connection with the federal investigation into the department’s DWI unit. APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said Officer Matthew Trahan was notified he is part of an investigation and was placed on leave.

Trahan has been with APD since 2006.  He was with the DWI unit from 2014 to 2016 and recently worked as a detective. Trahan was also involved in another incident 8 years ago. He was accused then  of severely beating his fiancee, who is also an APD officer. In a criminal complaint from 2016, police noted she had bruising, swelling and a bloody eye. Trahan’s fiancée is also on the Bernalillo County “Giglio List.” The list specifies law enforcement officers whose credibility has been called into question by previous acts of dishonesty or misconduct.

Trahan has not resigned but he joins eight more officers connected to the investigation. Six officers have resigned or retired since the investigation became public in early January. The officers who have resigned are Honorio Alba, Harvey Johnson, Nelson Ortiz, Justin Hunt, Joshua Montaño, and Daren DeAguero.  One other officer, Commander Mark Landavazo with the Internal Affairs Department was placed on leave. An unnamed Lieutenant was temporarily reassigned in the Internal Affairs Department as well. No officers have been charged as yet  in relation to the investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into allegations that DWI officers took bribes to miss court dates which led to hundreds of pending  DWI cases being dismissed by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office. The APD Officers  reportedly worked with a prominent  criminal defense attorney Thomas Clear, III,  and his paralegal to get the cases dismissed.  Six of the nine officers implicated in the scandal have resigned from APD declining to be interviewed by APD Internal Affairs.

The links to quoted and relied upon news reports are here:





It was on Friday January 19 that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed search warrants and raided the homes of 3 Albuquerque Police officers and the home and law office of prominent DWI criminal defense attorney Thomas Clear, III.  All 6 are allegedly involved in a bribery and conspiracy scheme spanning a decade to dismiss DWI cases. Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman ordered the dismissed 196 DWI cases because of the scandal due to the main witnesses’ credibility being called into question which in all the cases are APD officers.  The Albuquerque Police Department has opened its own Internal Affairs investigation of the 6 APD officers.

6 APD Police officers implicated in the scandal have now resigned during the Internal Affairs investigation. The names and dates of the 6 resignations are:

  • On February 7, 2024 Justin Hunt,who started at APD in 2000, resigned.
  • On February 29, 2024, Honorio Alba, who started at APD in 2014, resigned.
  • On March 13, 2024, Harvey Johnson, who started at APD in 2014, resigned
  • On March 15, 2024, Nelson Ortiz,who started at APD in 2016, resigned.
  • On March 20, 2024 Joshua Montaño, who started at APD January 2005, resigned.
  • On May 2, 2024 Daren DeAguero,who started with APD in 2009, resigned.

The FBI searched the homes of Alba and Johnson and the law offices of Thomas Clear III and the home of Clear’s paralegal Ricardo “Rick” Mendez.    The US Department of Justice and US Attorney’s office have confirmed the APD police officers and the criminal defense attorney are at the center of the federal investigation involving the dismissal of hundreds of pending DWI criminal cases by the APD Officers for remuneration to have the cases dismissed by the officers failing to appear for hearings. No one has yet to be charged as the federal investigation is ongoing.


Mayor Keller and Chief Medina have made more than a few stunning admissions throughout this sordid APD corruption scandal and they seem joined at the hip. They admit that the APD bribery and conspiracy scheme to dismiss DWI cases went on the entire 6 years they have been in charge of APD, but they never detected what was going on.

Both admitted that only after they found out the FBI was investigating APD the decision was made to initiate a city criminal and internal affairs investigation and to proclaim cooperation with the FBI. Medina admitted that he knew about the corruption as far back as December 2022 when APD first got a complaint related to the department’s DWI unit in December 2022, yet he waited and essentially did nothing for a full year.

Keller’s admissions come from a person who was first elected as the “white knight” state auditor who stopped “waste, fraud and abuse” and held people accountable for government corruption. Medina’s admissions come from a chief who claims he has never looked the other way at police corruption. Keller and Medina  have looked the other way on documented corruption involving overtime pay abuses by police officers. There have been seven audits in eight years documenting the corruption, waste, fraud and abuse in police overtime.  One of those audits was done by none other than New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller.

Chief Medina went so far as to blame the Bernalillo District Attorney’s Office for a failure to advise APD when officers did not appear for court. Medina also  accused the Public Defender’s Office of being aware of complaints that Public Defender Board of Director member Tom Clear, III was involved with nefarious conduct and that the Public Defender’s Office did nothing.


There is absolutely no doubt that APD’s reputation has been trashed to a major extent because of this scandal. APD will likely be viewed by many as again having just another bastion of “dirty and corrupt cops” who have brought dishonor to their department and to the department’s professed values of “Pride, Integrity, Fairness and Respect”.  This is so even before any charges have been filed against anyone, before any one is fired from APD and before any action is brought against the police officers involved for government corruption and criminal conspiracy to dismiss cases working with a prominent criminal defense attorney. Should the criminal defense attorney be charged and convicted of the crimes, he is likely facing jail time in prison as well as disbarment from the practice of law.

There is little doubt that this whole DWI dismissal bribery scandal has shaken the public’s faith in our criminal justice system. The only way that any semblance of faith can be restored and for people to begin trusting APD again is if all the police officers involved in this scandal are held accountable, the lawyers involved are held accountable.  That will only happen when there is aggressive prosecutions and convictions, the police officers are terminated and they lose their law enforcement certification and disbarment occurs with the attorney.

Ultimately, it is Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Harold Medina who need to be held accountable with what has happened. Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Harold Medina must ultimately be held accountable and take full responsibility for failed leadership of APD and this most egregious  APD scandal.  Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Harold Medina instead have been in full fledge “politcal spin cycle” of “pivot, deflect and blame” since the news broke and since the Albuquerque City Council accused them of failed leadership in dealing with the scandal as they attempt to get ahead of this most recent scandal involving APD.  They both have attempted to take credit for the investigation and for taking action to hold bad cops accountable for the corruption when it was in fact the federal investigation that forced their hand and after they both allowed the problem to fester for 6 years.


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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.