Socorro city leaders discuss investigation into former city police chief, city manager

City of Socorro

The City of Socorro held a press conference to discuss the finding of an investigation into a leaked video that sparked a debate about special treatment for the son of City Manager Adriana Rodarte.

As previously reported, former Chief of Police Carlos Maldonado is implicated in leaking the video showing Rodarte’s son being questioned about drinking and drug use, according to the investigation.

The investigation found that the former chief and others involved leaked the video to harm Rodarte.

During the press conference, Mayor Elia Garcia announced Daniel Hernandez had been removed from the planning and zoning commission because he is suspected of also taking part in the leaking of the video when he was left alone in Maldonado’s former office.

The officer who made the stop is heard on the video telling Rodarte’s son that rather than arresting him, he would call his mother to pick him up.

The investigation revealed Rodarte’s son, Diego Salais, was pulled over on Jan. 20 for speeding. Right when Socorro police Officer Rene Marin pulled him over, Salais said, "My mom is the city manager in Socorro." Officer Marin said he smelled alcohol. Salais admitted to Marin that he had had two beers.

Marin conducted a test called a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, and determined Salais was not intoxicated enough to perform a field sobriety test. He stated that HGN tests normally require four clues out of six to proceed with a field sobriety test. In this case, Marin observed distinct nystagmus at maximum deviation, two clues out of six.

The investigation shows Marin found white powder under Salais' nose that tested positive for cocaine. Salais denied consuming a controlled substance. Marin searched Salais and his vehicle due to the presence of a controlled substance. Marin did not discover any narcotics.

Salais was then released to his mother.

Councilman Rene Rodriguez said after the meeting Tuesday that city council had not been notified of Wednesday’s press conference and said there may be a cover-up because city officials are taking too long to release more important information about the investigation to the public.

"The mayor has her opinions. She has the liberty to come out and call something, but at least let us be notified. Notify Council of what you're doing, what is your intent. I think that this is something to cover up something more. That's what it is," Rodriguez said.

As for the former chief of police, the mayor said no further action can be taken against him because he is no longer an employee of the city.

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