More than 150 DWI cases dismissed as part of federal public corruption probe in New Mexico

More than 150 cases alleging that motorists drove while intoxicated have been dismissed as part of a federal public corruption investigation, authorities said, according to AP News.

The FBI investigation led the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque to dismiss 152 misdemeanor DWI cases as of Friday morning, the office said. Those cases could still be refiled.

“We did this in deference to an ongoing federal investigation,” said Nancy Laflin, a spokeswoman for the office.

Search warrants were served at multiple locations last week, including at the homes of at least three Albuquerque police officers, the Albuquerque Journal reported. No one has been arrested or charged in the investigation as of late last week.

Three Albuquerque police officers combined filed 136 of the 152 DWI cases, according to court records. At least 107 of those were filed last year — making up 10% of such cases for the Albuquerque Police Department, records showed.

Some officers have been placed on standard administrative leave and others were reassigned, said Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, who added Monday that “nothing has changed” concerning the status of the officers.

The fallout also led to the resignation of a prominent defense attorney, Thomas Clear III, as chairman of the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender Commission. The 11-member panel operates as an independent agency. Clear served as chairman since August 2017.

Tessa DuBerry, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico, confirmed federal law enforcement activity was conducted at Clear’s office “with the full cooperation of the Albuquerque Police Department.” She declined further comment, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

District Attorney Sam Bregman called the dismissals “a gut punch.”

“I’m sick to my stomach for dismissing more than 150 DWI cases, but my prosecutorial ethics require me to dismiss them,” he said in a statement.