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Friday, April 6, 2012 - 10:56pm
SUNLAND PARK, NM - Former Sunland Park Mayor-Elect Daniel Salinas was arrested for the third time Friday afternoon after 18 new charges were presented against him.
The charges range from fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, receiving and soliciting kickbacks and making or permitting false public vouchers among other things.
"They're going over to Mexico having parties, patronizing prostitutes, drinking, using fake vouchers to get the city to pay the company back," said Dona Ana County District Attorney Amy Orlando.
According to court documents, Daniel Salinas had arranged a "pyramid scheme" with Jorge Angulo who manages Envirosystems.
The company was contracted to look into the impact of a new border crossing and had just received a $2.4 million contract from the City of Sunland Park.
The documents allege Angulo paid for expenses on a November 2011 trip to a border conference in Saltillo Mexico. Angulo would then bill the city through his company.
Friday afternoon, Salinas was escorted out of the Sunland Park Police Department wearing shorts and a t-shirt with his hands cuffed behind his back.
Dozens of family and friends gathered outside the police department and watched Salinas be put into the back of a state police squad car.
His wife Alma said Daniel is a strong person and that's why they're doing that to him. She said he's honest and others don't like his youth.
Family friend Iris Valdivilla said the investigation wasn't properly handled.
"I think they should have conducted this investigation more thoroughly and then made the arrest," Valdivilla said.
She said Salinas has been in and out of jail because investigators keep adding charges instead of compiling all the evidence into one large case.
District Attorney Amy Orlando says the arrests have to be made as the evidence is found.
"If we were to wait for everything to be completed, then Mr. Salinas and all these other nine defendants would be out on the street possibly committing more crimes," Orlando said.
Valdivilla still hopes Salinas will have all the charges against him dropped in the end.
"I don't believe anything that they said and i trust him," Valdivilla said. "All I can say is to hang in there and his name will be cleared."
Salinas's is bond is set at $1 million with 75 percent cash to the court. Orlando said the bond was set that high because Salinas is considered a flight risk.