EL PASO, Texas - The ABC-7 New Mexico Mobile Newsroom confirmed a sergeant who alleged evidence tampering by the mayor of Mesilla, NM, has been fired.
ABC-7 learned two weeks ago that Sgt. Nick Hervol had been on paid administrative leave.
The dismissal of the Mesilla U.S. Marshal's sergeant Tuesday comes two months after he sent a letter to several judges and policing entities in which he accused the mayor of rummaging through an evidence closet.
Mayor Nora Barraza refused to talk with ABC-7 on May 23, the day of a hearing concerning Hervol's continued employment as a sergeant in the Marshal's office, about what led to Hervol being placed on paid administrative leave.
No one confirmed with ABC-7 if his dismissal was in relation to the open letter he wrote April 8. In the letter, Hervol claimed a breach in the chain of custody: He said Barraza forced him to give her access to a locked evidence closet in the Mesilla Public Safety Building and that she removed documents.
ABC-7 learned one of the judges who received the letter -- Lionel Frietze of the Mesilla Municipal Court -- cancelled an audit of the evidence room scheduled for last month.
The New Mexico Mobile Newsroom obtained a letter to the judge from the town attorney, Joseph Cervantes, stating: "...it remains my opinion that the Court does not have jurisdiction to control ... the Marshal's Department. ... Oversight of the Marshal is in turn performed by the Mayor. ... Therefore, I respectfully request that the Court immediately withdraw this order..."
Hervol's attorney, Mike Lilley, told ABC-7 two weeks ago his plan of action should the mayor fire his client.
"We'll appeal to the Board of Trustees, and we will present our case there," said Lilley. "We'll ask that it'll be an open hearing, and it'll be up to the Board of Trustees to decide."
ABC-7 called Barraza to find out what led to her decision to fire Hervol, but she did not answer or return our request for comment.
ABC-7 hasn't been able to confirm whether Barraza is actually being investigated for wrongdoing.
The New Mexico State Police and the Doña Ana County Attorney confirmed, they aren't taking the case. ABC-7 couldn't reach the district attorney in Otero County or the New Mexico Attorney General for comment.