Federal Grand Jury Returns Superseding Indictment Against Former Colfax County Sheriff’s Deputy
ALBUQUERQUE—Yesterday a federal grand jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., returned a superseding indictment that adds new charges against a former Deputy of the Colfax County Sheriff’s Office previously charged with a drug trafficking offense. In addition to the original drug trafficking offense, the superseding indictment charges Vidal Sandoval, 45, of Cimarron, N.M., with two theft of government property offenses.
Sandoval was arrested by the FBI and the New Mexico State Police on March 13, 2015, on an indictment alleging that on Feb. 28, 2015, Sandoval aided and abetted an attempt to possess cocaine with intent to distribute in Colfax County, N.M. The indictment included forfeiture provisions seeking a money judgment in the amount of at least $19,500.00, the proceeds Sandoval allegedly obtained as a result of his unlawful conduct.
The two new theft of government charges in the superseding indictment allege that Sandoval stole money belonging to the FBI on Dec. 15, 2014 and Jan. 25, 2015. According to affidavits submitted in support of court-approved search warrants that were executed following Sandoval’s arrest, on those two dates, Sandoval allegedly stole money from undercover FBI agents who were posing as drug dealers during two traffic stops. During the Dec. 15, 2014 traffic stop, Sandoval allegedly stole $7,500.00 from the undercover agents, and during the Jan. 25, 2015 traffic stop, he allegedly stole $2,000.00 from them.
At the time of the offenses charged in the superseding indictment, Sandoval was a deputy of the Colfax County Sheriff’s Office. Sandoval resigned following his arrest. Sandoval was released from custody on conditions of release, including pretrial supervision, pending trial which currently is scheduled for June 15, 2015.
If convicted on the drug trafficking charge in the superseding indictment, Sandoval faces a mandatory minimum five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. If convicted on the theft of government property charges, Sandoval faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison on each of the two charges. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Santa Fe and Albuquerque offices of the FBI and the New Mexico State Police with assistance from the Colfax County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean J. Sullivan is prosecuting the case.