NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A former New Mexico State Police officer could face up to 40 years in prison for his criminal behavior on the job. Daniel Capehart was convicted of drug distribution this week by a federal jury. The investigation showed Capehart was stealing drugs he pulled over and then using those drugs to bribe women he was involved with in exchange for sex.
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Investigators were tipped off to his behavior by a 16-year-old Capehart pulled over. She says Capehart gave her his personal cell phone number and proceeded to text her requesting sexually explicit pictures in exchange for marijuana. Investigators say on June 19, 2018, the teen reported the incident and text messages to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities say as part of this investigation, the teen allowed law enforcement to use her phone and pretend to be her in further communications with Capehart.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice District of New Mexico, after Capehart instructed the teen on how to avoid being caught with marijuana and the two agreeing on a delivery point that was close to the teen’s Farmington home, in the early morning hours of June 21, 2018, Capehart delivered marijuana to the agreed location.
The news release states that over the next couple of days, Capehart continued sending messages to whom he thought was the teen. After Capehart asked to speak with the teen, detectives had an undercover deputy speak with the defendant in three separate recorded phone calls. The news release says in those calls, Capehart continued to discuss marijuana believing he was speaking with a 16-year-old girl.
According to the news release, Capehart again offered to provide marijuana to the teen. Capehart specified a location in Farmington that was within 1,000 feet of Farmington High School and Brookside Park playground and delivered the marijuana intended for the teen that same day, according to the news release.
Meanwhile, authorities say that law enforcement also developed a confidential source (CS) who had prior dealings with Capehart and she agreed to cooperate. As part of the CS’s cooperation, she allowed authorities to use her phone to pretend to be the CS when talking with Capehart. In those messages, Capehart made a plan in which the CS would tell him when she was driving with someone who had methamphetamine, according to the news release. Capehart then conducted a traffic stop of the friend’s vehicle, locate the methamphetamine, and provided a portion of the meth to the CS in exchange for sex, authorities say. Capehart was unaware that he was talking about this plan to law enforcement and that the CS’s friend was an undercover agent.
Authorities say on June 28, 2018, Capehart executed the plan and conducted the traffic stop and arrested the undercover agent and located the meth. Capehart then drove to a park located by the CS’s home in Bloomfield, authorities say. Capehart delivered more than five grams of meth by bathrooms in the park, which was also located within 1,000 feet of Central Primary Elementary School, according to the news release. Capehart was arrested later that day.
Capehart faces between five and 40 years in prison. He resigned from NMSP after his arrest.
The news release state the FBI, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Region II Narcotics Task Force, and Farmington Police Department investigated the case and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico is prosecuting the case. No other information was provided.