Police say mole may be helping poachers

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Authorities are investigating if there’s a mole in the State Police force who has tipped off game poachers in northern New Mexico about illegal hunting investigations.

A spokesperson for New Mexico Game and Fish confirmed the tip came in through Operation Game Thief, which is like Crime Stoppers for wildlife. According to court documents, an anonymous tipster provided information about the poaching of elk and deer in Rio Arriba County, naming two suspected poachers and locations. The tipster also said the two have a friend within State Police who lets the two know when someone is looking into them and tells them to “get rid of stuff.”

According to court documents, a Game and Fish officer was able to corroborate most of the information provided by the tipster, and has reason to believe the person is credible.

Game and Fish said in a statement that the investigation, “to date has not shown any evidence to indicate or corroborate the informant’s allegation that a New Mexico State Police employee was involved.”

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas told News 13 in a phone interview that he’s taking the tip seriously.

“Game and Fish has assured me through their investigation that they don’t have any indication that it’s true, none whatsoever,” Kassetas said. “I’ve asked them – what do I need to know to get Internal Affairs involved so I can move it forward? They have nothing for me other than an anonymous tip.”

The two suspected poachers named in court documents have not been charged with anything.

According to documents, the tipster did not ask for a reward in the case.

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