By Robert Boczkiewicz, La Junta Tribune-Democrat
DENVER -- Federal court records show that a former Rocky Ford police officer resigned earlier this year while he was under FBI investigation for suspicious ties to an alleged drug dealer.
After an investigation of the alleged dealer began, Brian Jeffrey Valencia "resigned from the RFPD (Rocky Ford Police Department)," states an affidavit of a FBI agent whose work focuses on public corruption and other crimes.
The affidavit was filed under seal in February in Denver at the U.S. District Court for Colorado. It was unsealed Aug. 25 and obtained by the La Junta Tribune-Democrat.
The alleged drug dealer is Eligio Lee Camacho, of Rocky Ford. He is one of seven persons charged last month at the court, accused of being drug traffickers in southeastern Colorado.
Records show those cases were filed after at least 11 months of investigation by the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
The Tribune-Democrat reported Aug. 27 on those cases, which are in the early stages of prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's Office for Colorado.
Prosecutors stated in a court filing that Pueblo County is where those crimes occurred in 2018 and 2019.
No federal charge has been filed against Valencia. The affidavit, written by FBI agent Jon Beutelschies, stated Valencia went to work at the Fowler Post Office after he resigned.
The agent wrote the affidavit to persuade a federal judge to grant a search warrant to seize and search Valencia's cell phone. The judge issued search warrants for the agent to search phones to obtain records of calls between Valencia, Camacho, and Eligio Johnny Camacho III, the father of Eligio Lee Camacho.
The affidavit goes on to state that there were text messages and phone calls among them pertaining to illegal drug activity.
A confidential source aided investigators, the affidavit states.
It also states that Lee Camacho told the source in March last year that Valencia "was a friend and had provided information to him in the past" and had helped his father avoid arrest for domestic violence.
The FBI's source had a recorded conversation with Lee Camacho regarding have Valencia "run" state records regarding the registered owner of a license plate number, according to the affidavit.
"I'll actually see when that fool (Valencia) gets back on duty," Camacho is quoted as saying to the confidential source.
A few days later Lee Camacho told the source that Camacho had paid the officer "two bills ($200) to run the number," according to the FBI affidavit.
It states that investigators interviewed Valencia in December, asking him about his relationship with Eligio Johnny Camacho. "Valencia said it was 'nothing.'"
Valencia denied "running" the license plate number for the Camachos, according to the affidavit. When confronted with evidence showing that he did run the number, Valencia admitted he did do it.
He denied getting paid to do it, the affidavit states, and offered to take a polygraph test.
Valencia said he never gave Johnny Camacho "a heads up about the cops coming," according to the affidavit. "Valencia said he heard that Johnny Camacho was a drug trafficker, but he was never involved in any kind of drug trafficking with him."
The officer told investigators that running the plate information "was wrong," the affidavit states.
It goes on to say that during the course of the investigation the FBI's source talked with Lee Camacho about having the police officer "provide protection" for the drug trafficking business and about the source "paying Valencia directly." Camacho replied -- in a recorded conversation -- that Valencia "got all nervous because (the source) wanted to pay him directly and Valencia said, "f--- that."
The affidavit further states that Camacho told the source that the officer thought that Camacho "was going to give him the money and he did not want to meet anyone else."
Camacho is quoted as saying "Valencia was out and they would need to find someone else."
In another criminal case involving a Rocky Ford police officer, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation told the Tribune-Democrat in February that officer James Lopez was facing charges of distribution of a controlled substance and official misconduct regarding an incident that happened in December.
Lopez allegedly confiscated marijuana during an active police investigation in or near Rocky Ford and later took around a pound of marijuana to an acquaintance's home and repackaged it for distribution, the bureau said.
Lopez has several concurrent pre-trial conferences scheduled for Sept. 22.