How do the feds investigate public corruption?
Records filed in the FBI’s Lordsburg investigation show a mix of old-fashioned physical surveillance and reviews of time sheets.
But, as is increasingly common in police work, federal investigators also relied on the latest computer technology and electronic evidence such as Google location history records to check where Lordsburg police officers Arthur and Elijah De La Garza were when they reported working overtime to protect the U.S. border.
On July 20, a Las Cruces-based U.S. magistrate judge signed a search warrant to allow the FBI to obtain evidence from a Missoula, Montana, company that offers a GPS mapping service for hunters to track their locations and “plan better hunts.”
The FBI said in a search warrant affidavit that there was probable cause to believe the company had records related to the geographic location of “Elijah DLG” during certain days he claimed federal Operation Stonegarden overtime. There is also probable cause to believe the “waypoint/location” information possessed by the firm onXmaps, Inc., will show evidence of criminal conduct by Elijah DLG,” the affidavit says.
On May 11, federal agents executed a search warrant at the Lordsburg Public Safety building to seize payroll and other records.
Meanwhile, newly hired Police Chief Ricardo Huerta told the Journal last week that Lordsburg was down to four officers when he arrived several months ago. Now it’s fully staffed.
As for Operation Stonegarden, his agency’s grant funding was suspended before he arrived and now has been reallocated to another agency.
“I’m taking the agency in a different direction,” said Huerta, former commander at the Artesia Police Department.