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Thread: Voter fraud arrest reported in Sunland Park

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Voter fraud arrest reported in Sunland Park

    Polls close in municipal elections, voter fraud arrest reported in Sunland Park

    Sun-News reportlcsun-news.com
    Posted: 03/06/2012 07:06:07 PM MST

    LAS CRUCES - Polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a Sunland Park election that has been plagued by criminal allegations of extortion and voter fraud.

    Daniel Salinas, one of three candidates running for mayor, was free on bond election night, having been jailed earlier on charges of extortion and tampering with evidence. And, in the final hours of voting Tuesday, two more city officials were facing arrest.

    Priscilla Morales, secretary for former Sunland Park City Councilor Dario Hernandez, and Angelica Marquez were to be charged with voter fraud. According to the District Attorney's Office, Morales, a Texas resident, allegedly registered to vote in Doa Ana County - and voted - using Marquez's home address.

    Both were expected to be held on $50,000 secured bonds.

    Others arrested thus far include for City Manager Jaime Aguilera, charged with extortion and three related charges; Martah Alondra Lozano, a temporary city employee, charged with tampering with evidence and Silvia Gomez, director of the senior center, charged with false voting. Former Public Works Director Jesus Dario Hernandez is still being sought by police.

    Voter turnout was light, and there hadn't been any big problems through midday, a county election official said. However, with about a half hour left before polls closed, a line of about 25 people were waiting to vote at the fire station.

    "So many people voted early, we're not getting a heavy turnout today," said Doa Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins.

    Some 500 early and absentee ballots were cast, Ellins said. About 300 voted Tuesday at the fire station, one of two polling locations.

    About 5,000 voters are eligible to vote in Sunland Park, according to numbers from the clerk's office. The city's total population is about 14,000. Ellins said his office is "basically running the election."

    That's after weeks of turmoil in Sunland Park leading up to today, including authorities' turning up evidence of voting fraud. They also pushed last week for it to be called off altogether - something that didn't happen.

    There hasn't been much commotion today, Ellins said. That could be attributable to a heavy law enforcement presence in the city. "It's been very quiet; there's state police all over the place," he said.

    There are two polling sites in Sunland Park. One is at the fire station, near city hall at 1000 McNutt Road. The other is at Riverside Elementary School, 4085 McNutt Road.

    In Anthony, N.M., turnout was slow through mid-afternoon, said municipal Clerk Gloria Irigoyen. She expects that to pick up after people begin to get off of work.

    "We're hoping after 5 p.m. we're going to have more people," she said.

    Irigoyen said the election is going smoothly.

    In that city, roughly 2,960 people can vote, according to the county clerk's office.

    Some 22 percent of registered voters turned out in 2010 in Anthony - when the new municipality elected its first-ever slate of officials, according to the Anthony municipal clerk's office.

    Anthony voters living in Precinct 12 cast ballots at the Anthony Water & Sanitation District, 1155 N. Fourth St. Voters who live in Precincts 11, 80 and 74 must go to Anthony Elementary School, 600 N. Fourth St.

    In all, 39 early ballots were cast in Anthony, according to Irigoyen. Just six absentee ballots were issued, four of which had been returned to the clerk's office by Monday.

    In addition, about 1,700 people are eligible to vote today in Mesilla. Roughly 570 are eligible to vote in Hatch, according to the county clerk's office. The polls in all four municipalities closed at 7 p.m. today.

    Check back for results as they become available and look for full coverage in Wednesday's Sun-News, online and in print.

    Polls close in municipal elections, voter fraud arrest reported in Sunland Park - Las Cruces Sun-News
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    MW
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    Everyone involved has a hispanic surname. If this isn't a sign that Mexican politics is moving into our border states, I don't know what is.
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    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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    Senior Member Kiara's Avatar
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    That's a scary thought MW. Glad they were caught!!

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    Senior Member ReformUSA2012's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiara View Post
    That's a scary thought MW. Glad they were caught!!
    Caught but I'm not so sure they will be prosecuted or even forced to drop out of elections or resign any post they currently have. It seems that these types can easily get away with it.

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Posted: 11:59 a.m. Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Sunland Park City employee arrested a second time

    SUNLAND PARK, N.M.

    A person who marks the third arrest in Sunland Park was rearrested for violating conditions in her release.

    Silvia Gomez, Sunland Park City employee, was arrested Sunday in connection to voter fraud.

    Police took the 52-year-old director of the Senior Center in Sunland Park into custody late Sunday afternoon.

    KFOX14 got word from police officials that Gomez was arrested a second time Wednesday for appearing the Senior Center where she works.

    After Gomez was released she was told not to appear on city property or else she would be in violation of her release.

    Gomez will be booked again into jail.

    Sunland Park city employee arrested second time | www.kfoxtv.com
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    SUNLAND PARK

    Demographics


    As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 13,309 people, 3,355 households, and 2,969 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,260.6 people per square mile (486.6/km). There were 3,617 housing units at an average density of 342.6 per square mile (132.2/km). The racial makeup of the city was 69.80% White, 0.53% African American, 0.81% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 26.02% from other races, and 2.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 96.44% of the population.

    Sunland Park, New Mexico - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    3rd arrest made in Sunland Park vote fraud case

    Posted at: 03/09/2012 8:39 AM | Updated at: 03/09/2012 6:22 PM
    By: Tracy Dingmann, KOB.com

    SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) - Another arrest has been made in a troubled New Mexico border city rocked by extortion indictments, a state voter fraud probe, and a special state audit.

    Former Sunland Park City Councilor Angelica Marquez was arrested Wednesday and charged with false voting and conspiring to commit false voting.

    The 41-year-old was briefly jailed then released on a $50,000 secured bond. Authorities said Marquez registered to vote four nonresidents to vote in last week's municipal elections.

    Two other city officials have been arrested in connection to the state voting fraud investigation.

    Sunland Park's newly elected mayor and city manager were indicted Thursday on charges related to an extortion scheme involving a secretly recorded video of a mayoral candidate getting a topless lap dance.

    It was unclear if Marquez had an attorney.

    3rd arrest made in Sunland Park vote fraud case | KOB.com
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Sunland Park acting police chief arrested, mayor-elect accused of bribery

    By Diana Alba Soular
    Posted: 03/19/2012 05:11:03 PM MDT

    LAS CRUCES — The Sunland Park acting police Chief Luis Monarez was arrested Monday afternoon in Sunland Park, and the city's mayor-elect, Daniel Salinas, faces new charges related to bribery, authorities said Monday.

    Salinas is alleged to have installed Monarez as acting chief, in exchange for Monarez getting his sister to not run against Salinas ally and incumbent City Councilor Jessica Avila in the city's District 6 race, said prosecutor Scot Key of the Doa Ana County district attorney's office.

    Monarez and Salinas each face charges of bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery - fourth-degree felonies. Their bonds have been set at $50,000 cash-only, Key said.

    In addition, state police are executing search warrants at the city police department and Monarez's home, seeking evidence connected to the alleged crime, according to Key.

    Salinas was arrested in late February on four felony extortion allegations. He's alleged to have orchestrated a threat against his main mayoral competitor, Gerardo Hernandez, using a lap-dance video. Salinas has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

    Salinas was elected mayor on March 6, but has yet to be formally installed because conditions of his jail release - on the extortion charges - keep him from talking with city staff or setting foot on city property.

    Allegations

    About two weeks before a Jan. 10 deadline to sign up as a candidate in the city election, Salinas allegedly told City Manager Jaime Aguilera


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    that he wanted to hire Luis Monarez and had already spoken to him about "convincing his sister, Veronica Monarez, not to run for city council," according to an arrest affidavit.
    Salinas said he was worried that the District 6 incumbent, Jessica Avila, could lose a re-election bid because she was "shy and not really too interested in running for the position," according to the documents.

    Aguilera and Salinas then allegedly talked about what position they could offer Luis Monarez and settled on the captain's position in the police department.

    After that, Veronica Monarez was invited to meeting at a Village Inn on Jan. 7 - three days before the deadline to file as a candidate in the city's municipal election, according to a police affidavit. Aguilera, Salinas, former City Councilor Angelica Marquez and Luis Monarez also attended.

    At that session, Salinas questioned Veronica Monarez about her plans to run for office, and she told him she would run with Salinas's competitor, Gerardo Hernandez, according to Veronica Monarez's account in police documents. Salinas then told her that if she changed her mind, she'd be given a job as a police officer in the department, according to the records.

    Veronica Monarez was "not very cooperative" during the meeting, and "after an hour, it didn't seem like she was going to agree to the plan and Daniel Salinas was starting to get upset," the records stated.

    At that point, Luis Monarez reminded his sister "what was at stake for him," according to Aguilera's account to police.

    She eventually told them she wouldn't run, according to the arrest affidavit. Veronica Monarez never filed a candidacy declaration.

    Aguilera told investigators that "it was obvious that Monarez was making the offer that his sister would not run if he got the job. Salinas was in agreement that he would get the job, if his sister didn't run."

    A day after the Village Inn meeting, Aguilera worked on Luis Monarez's contract so it could be ready on Jan. 9, before the deadline to sign up for the election, according to the documents, Aguilera told police.

    Aguilera and Monarez then exchanged emails about the details of the contract.

    Luis Monarez

    After previously being fired from the city police department, Luis Monarez was rehired by the city Jan. 11 as a police captain, according to personnel documents obtained by the Sun-News in January.

    Luis Monarez was also serving as acting chief.

    The city council took action on the job position just two days before Luis Monarez's rehiring, during an early-morning, regular meeting. The agenda for the meeting listed "consideration and action to reactivate the position of captain to police department" as an item for consideration, according to the document.

    Previously, Luis Monarez had worked for the city police department for nine years and had served 20 months as chief before being dismissed in December 2009. His departure came a few months after state police launched an investigation into whether he'd supplied alcohol to three minors during an off-duty function in 2008 - as the minors claimed.

    No charges were ever filed against Monarez in connection to the alcohol allegations.

    Then-Deputy District Attorney Amy Orlando, now district attorney, supplied a letter to the state police in October 2010, indicating that her office, after reviewing the case file, would not prosecute the matter. The letter is part of Luis Monarez's employee records on file with Sunland Park. After Luis Monarez's departure in 2009, he worked for the Alamogordo police department, city officials have said.

    Luis Monarez's Sunland Park salary is $58,718 annually, according to city records.

    Diana Alba Soular can be reached at (575) 541-5443; follow her on Twitter @AlbaSoular

    Sunland Park acting police chief arrested, mayor-elect accused of bribery - Las Cruces Sun-News
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Posted: 3:26 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, 2012

    Salinas loses chance to be sworn in as mayor of Sunland Park

    N.M. Supreme Court denies Salinas' request to change bond restrictions

    By Samantha Manning
    New Mexico Supreme Court

    SANTA FE, N.M.
    A newly elected mayor will likely lose his new job before he even gets to start.

    The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Sunland Park mayor-elect Daniel Salinas will not be allowed to be sworn in by the city clerk.

    It was pretty much Salinas' last chance to have a court allow him to be sworn in before the April 5 deadline.

    At this point, even defense attorney Joshua Spencer said that Salinas is just about out of options.

    Spencer said that the court can modify its decision, but it's an unlikely scenario.

    "We're disappointed," Spencer said. "I was looking forward to telling Mr. Salinas that he was going to have conditions modified to be sworn in. Mr. Salinas is effectively unemployed."

    Salinas is charged with extortion after allegedly trying to force an opponent out of the mayoral race by secretly recording the candidate with a topless dancer and threatening to release the video.

    He's also charged with separate bribery charges for allegedly giving the acting police chief his position in exchange for convincing his sister not to run against one of Salinas' supporters in a city councilor race.

    As part of his bond restrictions, Salinas was banned from contact with city employees and from stepping foot on city property.

    "We want the people committing the crimes to be held accountable," Dona Ana County District Attorney Amy Orlando said.

    If Salinas isn't sworn in by April 5, Mayor Pro-Tem Isabel Santos will take over.

    Salinas loses chance to be sworn in as mayor of Sunland Park | www.kfoxtv.com
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Daniel Salinas out as Sunland Park's mayor

    Posted: 3:17 p.m. Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Daniel Salinas out as Sunland Park's mayor

    By Samantha Manning
    SUNLAND PARK, N.M.

    Daniel Salinas is now Sunland Park's former mayor-elect.

    Salinas had 30 days to take his oath of office as mayor before losing the title, and he wasn't able to make the deadline.

    It was all because of the bond restrictions set after he was arrested on extortion charges. Prosecutors said he tried to blackmail one of his opponents with the release of a video of him with a topless dancer.

    Salinas was also later arrested on bribery charges in connection with last month's election.

    As part of his bond restrictions, Salinas was banned from stepping foot on city property and from being in contact with city workers, making it impossible for him to be sworn in.

    Last week, a district court judge denied his defense attorney's request to change those restrictions.

    On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court also denied Salinas's request to change the restrictions.

    Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins told KFOX14 that in this situation, a city normally has two options.

    It can either hold a special election or appoint someone to the position.

    The appointment could be anyone as long as the person is a registered voter in Sunland Park. But because of the timing of June's primary, it seems the appointment is the only choice.

    "You cannot hold a municipal election before so many days before the primary and after so many days, and they have to give all kinds of notice, so they're not able to hold a special election at all," Ellins said.

    If the city appoints a current City Councilor as mayor, then it would also have to appoint someone else for that vacant seat.

    Anyone who is appointed will stay in office for the remainder of the term.

    Daniel Salinas out as Sunland Park's mayor | www.kfoxtv.com
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