The FBI has asked victims to come forward amid an Albuquerque Police Department corruption investigation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Could you be the target of a public corruption scheme? If so, federal investigators want to talk to you.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office is still investigating what News 13 has learned are allegations Albuquerque police officers are getting paid to dismiss DWI cases. Now, Raul Buzanda, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Albuquerque, is urging potential victims to come forward amid the public corruption probe.

“Ongoing investigations are something we can’t say,” Buzanda told KRQE Monday This is a typical reaction of an FBI agent during an active investigation.

However, amid a federal public corruption investigation that now involves former APD officers, Buzanda wants to address the public. “My whole reason for being here is I want to make sure that you have — you should have the confidence to be able to contact your local law enforcement,” Buzanda explained. “But more than that, you should have the confidence to report it to us, the FBI, and know that we’re going to do something about it.”

News of the investigation broke widely in January when federal agents raided the homes of an Albuquerque police officer and a prominent defense attorney. So far, five Albuquerque police officers have resigned amid APD’s federal and internal investigations, but none have yet faced any criminal charges.

“Really, these depend on someone doing the right thing, don’t they?” Dr. Buzanda. “Somebody’s in this network, somebody’s being a victim of one of these crimes and coming forward and just reporting it so we can start looking at it,” he added. “Because these are very difficult investigations.”

While SAC Buzanda would not speak to specifics, he acknowledged that such cases affect public confidence in law enforcement. “When people see this, they think they were hired to protect us,” Buzanda explained. “And now I’m not even sure I want to call them. And that’s the last thing I want anyone to feel.”

Public corruption cases can typically take years, he explained, with investigative techniques shrouded in secrecy to ensure accountability. When asked if a public official could go to federal prison for a public corruption offense, Buzanda replied, “Oh, of course. Yes, it happens all the time.”

Although the FBI is known for tackling brazen crimes like bank robberies, terrorist threats and kidnappings, public corruption cases are a priority, Buzanda said. “Public corruption is a top priority within the FBI,” he said. “This is our highest priority in relation to the overall criminal threat.”

“Not to say it’s more important or less important than other things, but to us, this type of violation is something that is not tolerated or should be tolerated by those we serve,” Buzanda told KRQE News 13.

In this case, Buzanda said the public should expect to hear about the FBI’s decision soon. “We will get to a conclusion,” he said. “We will reach a decision soon.”

“All the people we see, the badges that are worn, who are always supposed to do the right thing, are doing the right thing for us,” Buzanda explained. “And if anyone sees that this is not the case, or has information that could be helpful to this or any other investigation, they should come forward. They have to reach out to us.”

The FBI would not comment when News 13 asked if the investigation could extend beyond just APD officers. “As with any such investigation, we will continue to follow the evidence,” Buzanda said.

Potential victims of public corruption schemes can contact the FBI by calling or visiting 1-800-CALL-FBI Tips.FBI.gov.

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