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Ropesville police chief arrested, charged with evidence tampering, abuse of office

RAW VIDEO: Ropesville police chief placed under arrest
Published: May. 29, 2015 at 8:00 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 27, 2015 at 9:02 PM CST
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ROPESVILLE, TX (KCBD) - Ropesville Police Chief Ashley Ramirez was arrested by the Hockley County DA office Friday afternoon on three counts of Tampering with Evidence, 3rd degree felonies, and and one count of Abuse of Office, a state jail felony.

.According to Hockley County District Attorney Chris Dennis more charges are pending.

Ramirez, who resigned earlier this week, was at the Ropesville Police Department returning city owned equipment when investigators with the Hockley County District Attorney's office arrested him and led him out in handcuffs.

In a Friday Facebook post Ramirez commented, "Today is the ending of a great opportunity to serve as a police chief and the beginning of a new adventure. Thank you God for the opportunities and blessings."

In an exclusive interview District Attorney Chris Dennis told KCBD's Investigates team that his office has been investigating the former chief of police since September 2014.

"This is the result of a pervasive lack of accountability by past councils with respect to expenditures and expenses," said Dennis.

Dennis specifically excluded both the newly elected city council and former Mayor Bratcher from that statement, noting that Bratcher only held the job for a short time and was not responsible for past mismanagement.

"We were already neck deep in the investigation when town hall meetings were being held this winter."

Dennis says that his investigation began last year when Police Chief Ramirez investigated alleged misuse of a city debit card by a former Ropesville City Secretary who served prior to 2015.

"When the police choose to investigate crimes against their city by a city official it raises a red flag," Dennis said.

The resulting investigation report that Ramirez eventually submitted to the District Attorney was, in Dennis' words, "incomprehensible."

"That added to the suspicion and kicked the investigation into high gear."

Ramirez, who reportedly had an ongoing business selling firearms online, allegedly made unauthorized purchases with city funds.

"They bought a lot of guns for a two-person department," said Dennis.

Ramirez is alleged to have made unauthorized transfers of firearms purchased or possessed by the city of Ropesville. All firearms were potential evidence in a criminal investigation.

Those firearms were traded at a Lubbock pawn shop for another gun that is now being used by the police department. These transactions, and others, have come under the scrutiny of the district attorney.

KCBD reported earlier this year when Dennis sat in silence at a standing room only meeting after the Ropesville city council canceled its third city council meeting in a row amid demands for resignation of council members and insistence that the police department make changes.

About a month later, Ropesville voters elected a new mayor and a new council member.

The Hockley County District Attorney's Office requests that if you have purchased or been given any property by former Chief Ramirez that you contact their office during regular business hours Monday through Friday at 806.894.3130 or email cdennis@hockleycounty.org.

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