ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A federal jury began deliberating Thursday morning in the trialagainst a former Albuquerque Police Department officer who facescharges of obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI for afriend. Jurors began deliberating just before 11 a.m. on Thursdayafter closing arguments wrapped up.
Brad Ahrensfield, who was a 14-year APD veteran at the time, isaccused of tipping off his friend, Shawn Bryan, of an investigationinto him and his employees.
Last fall, federal and APD investigators believed Bryan wasbehind a "crime enterprise" that was based at his business, the CarShop, that involved drug and stolen property deals. Police alsobelieved Bryan had staged his own home burglary last September toget rid of stolen property he had purchased.
Det. Ron Olivas, who took the stand, said he was doingsurveillance of the Car Shop and knew that Ahrensfield's teenageson was working for Bryan at the time. Even though those involvedin the investigation were told not to tell Ahrensfield about theinvestigation and that his son would be protected, Olivas toldjurors that he told Ahrensfield anyway.
Ahrensfield, who also took the stand in his own defense,testified that in order to protect his son he told Bryan he wasonly going to allow his son to work for him one day out of the weekso he could concentrate on sports and school.
But Ahrensfield said that he was also concerned that Bryan'semployees were ruining his friend's reputation and business soAhrensfield claims that's he told Bryan that he needed to watch hisemployees because they were being accused of dealing drugs.
Ahresnfield also said he told Bryan that investigators werelooking into whether he'd staged his own burglary, but that he didnot go into details of the investigation because he Olivas didn'tgive him any details.
Ahrensfield said when the FBI questioned him, he didn't tellthem about that conversation, because they never specifically askedhim about it. He also said he didn't intend to commit a crime orviolate any laws when he warned his friend that his employees maybe dealing drugs at his business.
The investigation was compromised because of the leak. Olivaswas relocated to the records department soon after the leak and wassuspended without pay for three weeks. Ahrensfield quit the forcein March.
Bryan, for his testimony, was granted immunity. Ahrensfield'sattorney feels confident the jury will find him not guilty becauseprosecutors relied only on memory of what Bryan said duringquestioning.
Jason Bowles urged jurors to look at the evidence, which wastestimony that was based solely on a few notes and a recollectionof events nearly a year ago.
"The FBI didn't tape this, they didn't bring in the witnesses,everybody was all over the place on the statements," said Bowles."I mean, literally, at this point you have no idea what was said orwhat wasn't said. The proof is the tape and they should've broughtit; they didn't."
While the roads were looking clearer Friday morning in the Albuquerque area, appearances can be deceiving
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