Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

State Board revokes the certification of the former DASO deputy

LAS CRUCES – Former Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Deputy Vincent Lopez has officially lost the certificate making him a police officer.

The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy unanimously voted during a meeting on Thursday to revoke Lopez’s law enforcement certification.

Lopez, 55, was arrested according to a criminal complaint and charged with tampering with public records in nine cases and tampering with evidence in nine cases. Las Cruces Police Department detectives accused Lopez of hoarding evidence and records – including firearms and DNA swabs – in his home from 2009 to 2013.

Lopez was arrested in July 2020. He pleaded not guilty on the 18 counts and is due to be tried early next year. Lopez was originally in jail without a bond but received a bond in January 2021. Court records show that Lopez was released from prison shortly after being granted a loan.

The LEA board did not wait for a verdict on the case to make a decision on Lopez’s certification.

The board of directors, made up of New Mexico sheriffs, police chiefs and Department of Public Security officials, moved, after a long closed session, to revoke Lopez’s certification. The board also revoked, dismissed, or presented the certificates of around a dozen other police officers across the state. It’s unclear how much time the board spent debating Lopez’s status since the meeting wasn’t open to the public.

The board also moved to oppose the revocation of the law enforcement certification of former LCPD official Francisco Estrada. Estrada was charged after police said he accidentally fired his gun in a middle school.

Estrada was initially charged with negligent use of a lethal weapon, but the charge was dismissed in October 2020.

Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ Just516garc.

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