Arizona Deputy May Have Blackmailed Immigrants

Records found in Arpaio deputy's home following suicide
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2014 6:35 PM CDT
Arizona Deputy May Have Blackmailed Immigrants
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks at a news conference in Sun City, Ariz., in April.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Investigators think a former Joe Arpaio deputy who killed himself recently may have been shaking down illegal immigrants, according to newly released court records. While searching Ramon "Charley" Armendariz's home last week, investigators found 900 hours worth of tapes of traffic stops Armendariz had conducted, along with hundreds of personal-identification documents, including drivers' licenses, passports, license plates, and credit cards, almost all belonging to Hispanics, reports Reuters and Fox News Latino. The find was revealed during a hearing on the racial profiling allegations against Arpaio's office.

The judge in the case asked the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office if Armendariz might have been "shaking down" illegal immigrants. "That is part of our understanding," Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan replied. "He very well could have. What's mysterious to me is why we didn't get any complaints from those people." Armendariz was involved in a nine-hour stand-off with police after being arrested on drug charges on May 1, resigned from the department on May 2, and was found dead on May 8, after apparently hanging himself. (Read more Joe Arpaio stories.)

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