by Peter Barnes
The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The police chief resigned abruptly Wednesday amid a scandal involving his department's alleged mishandling of evidence.
Chief Gilbert Gallegos had been under increasing fire over possible long-standing problems in the department's evidence room.
Last year an anonymous e-mail was sent to law enforcement officials claiming that weapons, drugs and jewelry were missing from the room. That e-mail helped prompt an attorney general's investigation, launched at Gallegos' request.
Gallegos said he will offer any information he may have to investigators.
Sam Thompson, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said Gallegos' resignation would have no effect on the investigation.
"This was the chief's decision ... I think he made the right decision," Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez said. "The chief has put his department's welfare ahead of his own."
Gallegos' resignation letter did not give a precise reason for his departure, saying only that he does "not want to hinder the future success of this department."
Chavez said he hopes to replace Gallegos, who took over as chief in December 2001, by the end of the week.
Recently, a former Albuquerque police lieutenant said he and his officers brought allegations of theft in the department's evidence room to Gallegos but that the chief waited two months to begin an internal criminal investigation and seven months to call in the attorney general.
This week, three citizens filed formal ethics complaints against Gallegos for his handling of the alleged problems.
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Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.