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Sheriff Raymond Cobos, Luna County
In response to allegations that have led to a new trial for the Reese family, Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos is vehemently denying any knowledge of corruption within his department.

Last week, a U.S. District Court judge ruled three members of the Reese family - who have been embroiled with allegations of gun smuggling - will get a new trial on charges of falsifying documents because their defense team did not get the chance to present evidence that could have impeached the testimony of a Luna County Sheriff's Office officer. Family members are Rick and Terri, and their son, Ryin.

The defense argued they were unable to present evidence during the initial trial that called into question the credibility of LCSO investigator Alan Batts. They argued Batts knew he was under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of an investigation into corruption among Southern New Mexico law enforcement. Batts has since maintained no knowledge of such an investigation.

According to information released in court proceedings, there are FBI documents that concern Batts and other law enforcement officers in the area. The documents allege that officers in Southern New Mexico, including Batts, extorted assets from a drug dealer, assisted Mexican drug cartels and assisted in alien smuggling, but no specific evidence connecting Batts - or other LCSO personnel - to the alleged corruption was presented in open proceedings or in the order for new trial.


"The only ones that can really tell you the truth is the FBI or the U.S. attorney's office," Cobos said.

Cobos says that to his knowledge, this is the first instance in which one of his officers has had his credibility called into question. Since corruption allegations began to surface in the proceedings to get the Reeses a new trial, Cobos has stood by Batts, saying his confidence in him has not been diminished.

"Nobody in any official capacity has ever come to me, ever," Cobos said of federal authorities investigating corruption in his department.

He added that he would not be surprised to find out he was under investigation, saying there is no way for an officer to know he or she is under investigation and that anyone could report him for corruption, which could lead to an investigation.

"The FBI could subpoena records and I would not know about it," he said.

He says his concerns over the allegations are "quite great" and that he is still formulating how to formally respond to the allegations. He says he has a meeting tentatively scheduled with the Las Cruces U.S. Attorney's Office in March.

A date has not been set for the new Reese trial.

Matt Robinson can be reached at