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Suspect's Lawyer: Video Shows Police Planting Drugs

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 - 10:52pm

EL PASO - A defense lawyer says police officers planted drugs in a man's car.  The story begins on Christmas Eve 2009 on Old Pueblo near Zaragoza.

El Paso Police Officers Almanza and Madrid pulled over Ernesto Burciaga.

Officer Almanza approached Burciaga's car and asks him to step out, pats him down and arrests him.

Madrid leads Burciaga to the front of the squad car, searches him and appears to find nothing.  Two minutes later, the same officer walks next to the passenger door of Burciaga's car and based on the video, appears to drop something that looks white or shiny.  It appears to drop directly from his right side.

Burciaga pleaded guilty to drug charges in court.  His new lawyer says Burciaga was constitutionally violated.

"The most obvious one is there has been a due process violation here...and the evidence on the dvd...a likely planting of evidence to grant him a new trial..

James Lucas also said Officer Almanza picked up the bag later and put it into the car, behind a visor.

The police report from that night says Burciaga threw something, like a baggie, from his window just before he stopped.  The report says Officer Madrid walked back and retrieved the cocaine out of view of the dashcam.

 The FBI is reviewing the video to see if anything emerges from the window.

El Paso Police responded to our questions: "We are aware that Mr Burciaga, who pleaded guilty under oath in a court,is now trying to change his plea to avoid deportation. We will let the criminal justice system run its course."


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