NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The New Mexico Department of Corrections is at the center of a lawsuit after a former guard claims he was retaliated against for reporting three employees that had taken narcotics into the Santa Rosa facility. Christopher Hamilton started working at the Santa Rosa Adult Correctional Facility in 2018.

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He claims that after reporting three employees for smuggling drugs and phones into the prison, he was punished and eventually terminated. “The Department of Corrections performed a pretextual and negligent investigation into false allegations that my client was actually introducing narcotics into the prison. Those allegations were false and purely retaliatory,” said Attorney Jacob Candelaria.

Hamilton said that not only was he wrongfully terminated but added that the warden at the time called another correctional facility telling leadership that Hamilton was a “dirty copy.” Hamilton is now suing for damages.

“A person who has the courage to stand up and do the right thing and call out unlawful or improper behavior, unfortunately, ends up with a target on their back,” said Candelaria.

New Mexico Department of Corrections will not comment on this case but say they investigate all accusations of misconduct. The Geo Group, the private company who is running the facility at the time, is also listed in the lawsuit. KRQE reached out to the Geo Group but have not heard back.