Lamesa officer charged with evidence tampering - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lamesa officer charged with evidence tampering

Robert Gonzales Robert Gonzales

A police officer in Lamesa was suspended Wednesday after allegations of criminal mischief.

Robert Gonzales, 28, is charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. He is out of jail on a $5,000 bond.

According to the affidavit, Lamesa police responded to a criminal mischief call near Gonzales' residence at the 1100 South block of 13th street. On Oct. 29, Gonzales reported his motorcycle had been vandalized at his residence.

"As a result of some of the finding we called in the Texas Rangers to come in and assist us," said Lamesa Police Chief Richard Garcia.

In the affidavit, Texas Ranger Don Williams said the motorcycle appeared to have been dragged down the street on Avenue K and South 13th Street. He said it looked like someone had damaged the paint and seat with a sharp tool, put lighter fluid on the motorcycle, and then attempted to set it on fire.

Later, on the 29th, Gonzales found additional evidence in the coolant reservoir of the motorcycle. He gave investigators a napkin that read "Don't ---- with the nation."

The napkin appeared to have burned edges, according to the affidavit. The writing and symbols written appeared to be affiliated with the gang the Latin Kings. Investigators say the note appeared to be written in ink but did not have the appearance of coming in contact with fluid as Gonzales indicated.

Tuesday, Gonzales confessed that he made the note himself to redirect investigators. Gonzales gave investigators consent to search his residence. They seized two paper napkins that were consistent with the type of napkin that the fabricated note was written on.

Police Chief Richard Garcia says he is disappointed.

"I've been in this profession for quite some time. This is not the first time I'll dealt with this kind of situation. So surprised yes, shocked no," said Garcia.

Right now Gonzales is charged with a third degree felony. If convicted, he could face from 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11.

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