ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – An Española City Councilor is in hot water after being slapped with felony charges, including conspiracy. Police say the councilor was even trying to hinder their investigation.
Española Police say they initially wanted to talk to City Councilor John Ramon Vigil as a witness on a separate case they were working on last month. However, after talking to him, they realized he had something to hide.
“It does look like they are working directly with each other as partners for the purpose of a commission for Mr. Vigil,” says Española Police Interim Chief Roger Jimenez.
Chief Jimenez says they were trying to get more information for their investigation into Phillip Chacon, who has a long criminal history. You might remember Chacon as the man who barricaded himself inside an Española house back in March when police say Rio Arriba Sheriff James Lujan showed up drunk and tried to take over the scene.
During the police’s investigation, they found out Chacon was talking to Española City Councilor John Ramon Vigil. When officers tried to ask Vigil why he was talking to Chacon, police say he lied many times and even appeared to be interested in taking a bribe to get rid of the city manager, who Chacon did not get along with.
“The biggest concern for me is the fact that he was willing to take a bribe for the $25k in order for him to run for mayor,” says Chief Jimenez.
Police say during the time of this incident, Chacon was on supervised probation. With Vigil being on the city council and the public safety committee, Chief Jimenez says he wonders if Vigil may have gotten in the way of other police investigations in the past.
Española Mayor Javier Sanchez says he does not have the authority to fire Vigil. The city’s ethics review board is currently looking into this to determine what to do next. The next city council meeting is Tuesday night and the mayor says Vigil is allowed to show up.
Vigil’s attorney, Robert Gorence says these allegations are false and that the chief is corrupt and trying to get back him politically. He also claims Vigil never knew Chacon was being investigated for any crime.