A new development in the DWI scandal plaguing the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has emerged. One of the officers suspected of being involved in a plot to extort residents has resigned as federal authorities continue investigating the matter.

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The scandal exposed a tangled web of alleged corruption within the APD’s DWI unit as the community looks for accountability for those involved. Officer Honorio Alba Jr., one of those under investigation, decided to resign from his position prior to an interview with internal affairs.

Albuquerque police officer Honorio Alba Jr. has resigned ahead of his scheduled Internal Affairs interview, according to APD Chief Harold Medina.

Alba was going to be interviewed by APD Internal Affairs either Thursday or Friday.

Alba was one of the officers who had been placed on administrative leave amid a federal investigation into APD’s DWI unit.

“Today, I got notified this morning that he had resigned,” Medina said. “You know, of course, I have a lot more details and information that I’ve been privy to. And I can just say this, that I’m not shocked they resigned.”

Officers were allegedly working with a local attorney on a scheme that involved the officers not showing up to court for DWI cases.

The scam involved various police officers, a local attorney, and the residents who were extorted for their hard-earned money.

It appears Smith’s story was not an isolated case. Another report revealed that a federal probe uncovered almost 200 DWI cases that were dismissed due to concerns about the officers’ credibility. The report highlighted the case of another officer who chronically failed to appear in court, which led to a series of dismissals. However, the case got the federal government’s attention after an officer pulled over the wrong person.

The man who was pulled over was an employee of the second judicial district court. His boss, court executive officer Katrina Watson, wrote a letter to the APD’s police oversight agency and the state’s supreme court.

“The court, CEO, the court officer is saying this is fishy because the employee says the officer who pulled him over told him, get in contact with this lawyer,” Day said. “And we guarantee basically the case will go away.”

Ten days after the letter, the driver was charged with driving while intoxicated and refusing to give a breath sample. The charges were filed three months after he was pulled over.

“That’s just never; that’s almost never happened. So there’s something very, very fishy about that,” Day said. “Looks like an officer trying to cover himself after being found out.”

Here is how the alleged scheme works: An officer pulls over a resident and charges them with a DWI. Then, the victim is told to enlist the aid of Clear, who will get their case dismissed for a hefty fee. This means the individual will not have a DWI on their record.

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The scandal made it to the FBI’s radar after Watson became one of the officers’ targets.

In the wake of these allegations, about 200 DWI cases were dropped because the APD was no longer able to rely on the testimony of the officers who made the arrests.

What is ironic about Alba’s case is that he had been named New Mexico Officer of the Year in 2023 by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

As the FBI’s investigation yields more fruit, it would not be surprising to see more officers resign or face consequences. This scandal represents severe flaws in the city’s law enforcement agency. The fact that these officers could continue extorting everyday citizens for so long seems to suggest that some serious systemic changes are needed to foster transparency, integrity, and accountability.