Campaign mailers 'put NM undercover cop at risk'

Five local officials are urging the DA to stop the circulation

Albuquerque Journal

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Five local law enforcement officials are urging Mark D'Antonio, the Democratic candidate for the 3rd Judicial District Attorney's Office, to halt the circulation of a campaign mailer they say identifies an undercover law enforcement officer.

The officer in question is Kip Scarborough, whom the D'Antonio campaign has identified as the district attorney's lead investigator and recipient of a 60-percent raise from incumbent District Attorney Amy Orlando between 2010 and 2011.

The D'Antonio mailer was sent to about 15,000 county addresses last week. It claims Scarborough received the pay bump for doing "essentially the same job he was doing before" and criticized Orlando, a Republican, for providing a "sweetheart deal."

Orlando said Scarborough 's pay increase reflected an increase in responsibilities and was in line with other prosecutors' staff handling similar duties.

D'Antonio on Wednesday said the complaint from law enforcement officials, contained in a letter hand-delivered to his office, was politically motivated and threatening in tone. The law enforcement letter said that, if D'Antonio's campaign does not stop circulating the mailer, "... we will proceed accordingly."

D'Antonio responded by filing a report about the letter with the FBI.

The law enforcement letter said the D'Antonio mailer, which contains a photo of Scarborough framed by a heart, "is causing serious concerns for the personal safety of this officer and his family, as well as jeopardizing the integrity of ongoing undercover investigations. Your (D'Antonio's) disclosure directly puts this officer's safety and welfare at serious risk. ..."

Scarborough did not return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.

The letter, which D'Antonio said was hand-delivered to his campaign office Monday afternoon by a man who did not identify himself, was signed by: Doña Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison; Orlando's chief deputy district attorney James Dickens; Bobby Holden of the Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics agency; Ken Roberts, president of the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Association; and Mark Dominguez, head of the Las Cruces Police Officers Association.

Asked what the letter's signers could do if D'Antonio does not somehow halt the mailer, Garrison said, "Not a whole lot, but we could definitely bring it to people's knowledge that he (D'Antonio) is willing to do such a thing. I don't want some of our officers hurt because of a political campaign for anybody."

D'Antonio said he does not believe Scarborough is an undercover officer, and his campaign noted that photos of the investigator are posted on Orlando 's campaign page on Facebook, the social networking website. But Orlando said Scarborough is not identified by name or job title on the page.

Dickens said that Scarborough does in fact work undercover. Asked about the next step to be taken, Dickens said, "We are at this time looking at a wide range of responses, but we haven't got to that point."

Copyright 2012 Albuquerque Journal

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