ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Daniel Capehart, 36, of Bloomfield, New Mexico, was convicted on July 22 by a federal jury of three counts of distribution of marijuana and methamphetamine, two of which occurred within 1,000 feet of a school and playground, in Farmington, New Mexico.
According to court records, on June 15, 2018, Capehart, then a patrol officer with the New Mexico State Police, conducted a traffic stop during which he came into contact with a 16-year old passenger identified as Jane Doe 1 in Farmington. Capehart requested Jane Doe 1’s phone number, email address and date of birth. Capehart then gave Jane Doe 1 a business card with his personal cell phone number. Approximately an hour after the traffic stop concluded, Capehart began texting Jane Doe 1.
On June 19, 2018, Jane Doe 1 reported the incident and text messages to the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement immediately launched an investigation into Capehart’s conduct. As part of this investigation, Jane Doe 1 allowed law enforcement to use her phone and pretend to be her in further communications with Capehart.
On June 20, 2018, Capehart offered to provide marijuana to Jane Doe 1, unaware he was communicating with law enforcement. In exchange, still believing he was communicating with a 16-year old girl, Capehart asked for “selfies” as payment. After Capehart instructed Jane Doe 1 on how to avoid being caught with marijuana and the two agreeing on a delivery point that was close to Jane Doe 1’s Farmington home, in the early morning hours of June 21, 2018, Capehart delivered marijuana to the agreed location.
Over the next two days, Capehart continued sending messages to whom he thought was Jane Doe 1. After Capehart asked to speak with the 16-year old, detectives had an undercover deputy speak with the defendant in three separate recorded phone calls. In those calls, Capehart continued to discuss marijuana believing he was speaking with a 16-year-old girl.
On June 23, 2018, Capehart again offered to provide marijuana to Jane Doe 1. Not realizing he was communicating with law enforcement, Capehart specified a location in Farmington that was within 1,000 feet of Farmington High School and Brookside Park playground. Capehart delivered the marijuana intended for the 16-year-old that same day.
Law enforcement also developed a confidential source (CS) who had prior dealings with Capehart and she agreed to cooperate. As part of the CS’s cooperation, she allowed law enforcement to use her phone to pretend to be the CS when communicating with Capehart. In those messages, Capehart devised a plan in which the CS would tell him when she was driving with someone who had methamphetamine. Capehart would conduct a traffic stop of the friend’s vehicle, locate the methamphetamine, and provide a portion of the methamphetamine to the CS in exchange for sex. Capehart was unaware that he was communicating this plan to law enforcement and that the CS’s friend would be an undercover agent.
On June 28, 2018, Capehart executed the plan and conducted the traffic stop. Capehart arrested the undercover agent and located the methamphetamine in the undercover agent’s pocket. After booking the undercover agent in jail, in the early morning hours of June 29, 2018, Capehart drove to a park located by the CS’s home in Bloomfield. Capehart then delivered more than five grams of methamphetamine by bathrooms in the park, which was also located within 1,000 feet of Central Primary Elementary School. Capehart was arrested later that day.
A sentencing date has not been scheduled. Capehart faces a mandatory minimum of 5 years and up to 40 years in prison on the methamphetamine count.
The FBI, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Region II Narcotics Task Force, and Farmington Police Department investigated this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico is prosecuting the case.
The HIDTA Region II Narcotics Task Force is comprised of officers and investigators from the Farmington Police Department, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, Bloomfield Police Department and Aztec Police Department, and is part of the HIDTA program created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.