Update: Santa Fe County has reported potential violations of state law to the state auditor's office and has requested, and received verbal approval, "hire a State Auditor approved accounting firm to conduct an immediate forensic audit of the Sheriff’s Department and overall internal control review," according to a press release issued late this afternoon.
Solano resigned in a release this morning, admitting he had resold sheriff's department vests and other equipment over the internet. The state police is apparently investigating.
SFR was on hold on Garcia's cell phone, while he was sworn in on the other line. Garcia is currently driving back from a vacation in Nevada, and plans to be back at work Tuesday morning (Nov. 30).
Garcia tells SFR he learned Solano intended to resign last Saturday. "He mentioned to me that the state police was conducting an investigation into the wrongdoing on his part," Garcia says. "He mentioned he’d be meeting with the investigator on Monday and after he met with the investigators, he would release a statement."
Garcia says he was completely unaware that Solano was reselling the department's property. "
If I had ever had an idea, it would never have been tolerated on my part."
After his swearing in by phone, with his voice breaking, Garcia thanked the commission, "for placing your trust in me."
To SFR, Garcia says learning the news was "like getting hit in the stomach with a sledgehammer."
Solano's admission, Garcia says, " is a major blow to me and to the entire sheriff’s office and the citizens of the county."
Garcia says he does not know what precipitated Solano coming forward. "I don't know if the state police was tipped off by someone," he says. "I just don't know."
Garcia says he does not know the possible value of the items Solano sold, nor if others were aware in the department of what was happening.
" One thing we will be doing as soon as I get back, and I know the county will be doing the same, is finding out howwe’ll try to find out as soon as we can to identify the items and who had control" Garcia says he expects to have more answers early next week, and also anticipates more information will be forthcoming from the state police.
"It appears [Solano is] cooperating fully and he’s going to have to
face the consequences."
The state police, in a press release, states the investigation of Solano had been ongoing for months, and remains so. Here is that release:
Over the course of the past several months, the New Mexico State Police have been looking into an allegation of embezzlement by Greg Solano.
Through the four month investigation agents with the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau have learned that Greg Solano was selling Santa Fe County property. The amount of property has not come to a final tally; the scheme was facilitated through e-bay where Solano would sell items illegally.
Through the course of the investigation we have been working with the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The case is ongoing and once complete an update will be provided.