Officials probe tip of leak from cops to poachers

January 29, 2014 • State News

ALBQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State authorities are investigating whether the New Mexico State Police has a mole who has leaked word on illegal-hunting investigations to game poachers in northern New Mexico.

A Game and Fish Department officer’s search warrant affidavit filed in state District Court says the officer was able to corroborate most of the information in a tip posted anonymously [auth] Jan. 11 on the department’s “Operation Game Thief” website.

That posting included a claim that elk and deer poachers active in the area of Tierra Amarillo and Canjilon of Rio Arriba County were tipped off by a friend in the State Police.

The officer “has reason to believe that the anonymous party is credible and reliable,” the affidavit says.

The department said Tuesday in a statement that an investigation hasn’t yet shown that a State Police employee was involved.

“If during our continuing investigation we discover evidence to the contrary, we will immediately provide that information to the State Police and assist them as needed,” the statement added.

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told the Albuquerque Journal ( ) that the tip was troubling but that he has “absolutely no indication” that the statement about a mole is accurate.

“However, I take it seriously, and any information that I can actively pursue identifying one of my officers will be vetted and investigated to its fullest,” Kassetas said.

The two people named in the affidavit haven’t been charged.

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