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Former officer's sentence on drug charge stirs outrage

Steve Soliz
October 16, 2017 10:09 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A former police sergeant was caught on camera stealing drugs from the Grants Police Department and then giving those drugs to his girlfriend. Roshern McKinney accepted a plea deal and won't have to spend one day in jail.

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That decision from a Cibola County judge is causing people across New Mexico to react.

New Mexico State Police say McKinney walked into a locked room at the police station in Grants last July. Once inside, he grabs a clear plastic bag carrying a green substance. His lapel cam later catches him handing the marijuana to his girlfriend for her to give to her dad.

McKinney's lawyer reached a plea deal with Cibola County District Court Judge Pedro Rael. The deal: 364 of unsupervised probation.

"This sentencing goes against any solutions to those problems, sends a strong statement to our community that we don't take drug offenses seriously, don't take law enforcement or prosecution seriously and find corrupt cops in town okay," one viewer wrote to KOB.

Viewers aren't the only ones questioning the plea deal. State Police Chief Pete Kassestas said a ruling like this makes no sense, and the judge's decision surprised him.

"He received about a year's worth of probation, which I understand," Kassestas said. "But at the end of that probation, he has what's called a deferred sentence. So when that probation is over and he doesn't get in any more subsequent trouble, there's no record of him being charged with essentially a felony."

Kassetas said police agencies need to police their own officers. Incidents like this should never happen.

"It's bad enough that criminals are committing crime, right?" he said. "But when you have police officers that cross that line? It just undermines everything we do in law enforcement."

McKinney's girlfriend also faced similar charges. Tanicka Gallegos also took a plea deal, and she too received 364 days of unsupervised probation.

Credits

Steve Soliz

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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