Thursday, August 16, 2007

S.F. Narcotics Chief Accused of Battery

by Bruce Daniels, Albuquerque Journal

Sgt. Michael LeBlanc, current head of the Santa Fe Police Department's burglary/narcotics unit, was charged this week with a misdemeanor domestic violence count of battery of a household member, The New Mexican reported today on its Web site.

It was, according to court records, the second time in the past 3 1/2 years that LeBlanc has been charged with domestic violence, The New Mexican said.

According to the paper, a domestic violence hearing officer in state District Court in Albuquerque issued a yearlong restraining order against the 34-year-old LeBlanc, requiring him to stay away from his estranged wife.

The latest charge stems from an incident on July 22 in which LeBlanc allegedly punched his estranged wife on the left arm and left thigh following an argument, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Bernalillo County Metro Court, The New Mexican said.

The complaint also alleges that LeBlanc pushed his estranged wife up against a wall three days after the July 22 incident, The New Mexican reported.

LeBlanc was not arrested but charged by a criminal summons and is scheduled to be arraigned in Metro Court at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 4, according to the report.

His wife filed for divorce in Albuquerque on Aug. 8, The New Mexican said.

The New Mexican reported that LeBlanc was charged with battery on a household member in 2004 in which he was accused of walking the mother of his older daughter away from his home using a police technique known as an "arm-bar," and of threatening to shoot the pregnant woman in the stomach, according to a Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety report.

LeBlanc, who denied making the threat or brandishing a weapon, was given a deferred sentence at the time and after six months the charges were dismissed, The New Mexican reported.

LeBlanc replaced Sgt. Steve Altonji, who was put on leave early this year after the U.S. Attorney's Office notified Santa Fe police that Altonji was the target of a federal grand jury investigation at the beginning of the year, The New Mexican said.

Police Chief Eric Johnson told The New Mexican that LeBlanc will not be placed on administrative leave because the allegations against him are not as serious as those against Altonji.

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