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Former New Mexico Police Officer Convicted on Drug Charges

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Former police officer Daniel Capeheart has been convicted on drug charges, much to the surprise of New Mexico state.

Former New Mexico State Police Officer Daniel Capehart has recently been convicted on drug charges. 

Specifically, former Officer Capehart was convicted of distributing cannabis and methamphetamine by the state of New Mexcio. The cannabis was allegedly originally intended for a 16-year-old girl he pulled over, according to the recent court case. Further, it is believed this also was part of a separate drug-for-sex scheme with the girl.

According to records from the U.S. District Court, Bloomfield-based Capehart, 36, was convicted this past Thursday on the charge of distributing drugs within a close radius to local schools. His convictions include two counts of distributing marijuana and one count of distributing methamphetamine. These crimes could carry between five and 40 years in prison. 

Former Officer has a History of Abuse 

Prosecutors on the case alleged that the former officer pulled over the teen along with a friend on June 15, 2018, in Farmington. He then got the girl’s number and birthday and started to send her text messages. Over text, he told her she was “the most beautiful woman” he had ever met.  

Following this exchange, the girl went to her father, and the two reported the texts to the San Juan County sheriff’s detective. Working with authorities, he then used the girl’s phone to text the officer back. The officer allegedly left cannabis twice at drop locations for the girl he was texting, one near a high school. 

Additionally, the FBI contacted another young girl who said she had been texting with former Officer Capehart for nine months or so. Capehart allegedly texted her and proposed a plan to arrest someone for transporting cannabis and then give the cannabis to the girl in exchange for sex. The day after that, he pulled over and arrested an undercover FBI agent, took the cannabis and left it at a location near Central Primary Elementary School in Bloomfield for the girl. 

In multiple cases, the amount of drugs exceeded five grams, and the infractions took place within 1,000 feet of a school. 

New Mexico Police Scrutinized for Ethics 

This isn’t the first time the New Mexico police have come under fire for practices and ethics. Back in 2015, it seemed to be the entire police program to blame when the asset forfeiture program was officially outlawed.

In 2015, police agencies across New Mexico were told they could no longer seize property based on suspicion of drug-related crimes alone. Before House Bill 560 was officially signed by then-New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, officers were able to scavenge profitable items, including houses and automobiles, even without a conviction, if they were suspected of drug possession. 

“We’re going to try not to seize,” Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe said at the time, lamenting that he wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to pay for expenses with these new restrictions.

Prior to that time, the asset forfeiture program was a quick way for police to make money from petty drug offenders. The program funded 25 percent of operations, up to $100,000 per year. The money was used to purchase  surveillance equipment and train officers to go after assumed criminals. This change had officers concerned about where and how they would obtain their funds.

This change in policy came during the early days of conversation about modern policing techniques overstepping human rights boundaries, as well as the early days of prohibition ending and the War on Drugs being abandoned or reworked.

Of course, none of that history excuses the actions of former police officer Daniel Capehart, who now faces from five to 40 years in prison for his relationships with young women and for illicitly providing them substances. 

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