RESERVE, N.M. (KRQE) – Former Catron County Sheriff, Ian Fletcher, is facing 10 felony counts after an investigation by the New Mexico Attorney General. Court documents allege Fletcher laundered over $10,000 and used his position as sheriff to siphon funds from the county.
The state’s Attorney General had previously announced an investigation into Fletcher at the start of 2022. The initial tips reportedly came from Catron County workers, who noticed spending didn’t add up.
State Auditor Brian Colón then looked into the matter before passing it along to the state’s Office of the Attorney General. On Thursday, assistant attorneys general filed charges against Fletcher in district court. The charges allege that Fletcher misused federal funds.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, Fletcher took thousands of dollars sent to help fight the Buzzard Fire in May of 2018. That human-caused fire burned over 50,000 acres in the Gila National Forest before crews contained it, according to the U.S. Forest Service. To help fight the fire, Catron County partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service, but Fletcher allegedly embezzled Department of Agriculture funds and laundered them through an “unauthorized” bank account.
On top of being accused of taking over $39,000 between 2018 and 2019, The Attorney General’s Office is also accusing Fletcher of taking hundreds of hours of unapproved over time.
Fletcher resigned from his elected post as Catron County Sheriff in 2021. At the time, he claimed he was stepping down in order to pursue another job opportunity.