Arrest charges of embezzlement and fraud against former Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano could come as soon as this week. But federal charges—if they occurred—would likely hold graver consequences.
Santa Fe defense lawyer Mark Donatelli tells SFR that, because Solano allegedly sold law enforcement equipment across state lines, federal prosecutors could also have jurisdiction. The penalties for federal felony offenses, Donatelli says, "are, in many cases, much more severe…he could go from the frying pan into the fire."
An FBI spokesman wouldn't confirm or deny if that agency is investigating Solano. Assistant United States Attorney Greg Fouratt says his office won't always prosecute a case for which it has jurisdiction, especially if the state gets a conviction, but "if [the state] came to us and asked us to do it, then we would get the FBI involved and they would investigate it together…"
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler says he hasn't spoken with the US Attorney's Office, but believes 1st Judicial District Attorney Angela "Spence" Pacheco has. Pacheco didn't return a call for comment before press time.
Contacted at his home, Solano tells SFR that his attorney has advised him not to comment.
Chandler told news media this week, including SFR, that he is "closing in" on issuing an arrest warrant.
Solano will be charged with multiple counts for sales of county property on eBay, according to Chandler.
"Every time property was embezzled or the county's money was misappropriated, that would be its own charge," he says.