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Atty General to investigate Pima Sheriff's Dep't use of RICO funds

GV News confirms state will investigate county department's use of seized funds

The Arizona Attorney General's Office has agreed to review whether any state laws have been violated by the Pima County Sheriff's Department use of RICO funds.

Two months ago, former Pima County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Christopher Radtke was sentenced in federal court to one year of probation, a $3,000 fine and 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to three misdemeanor counts of theft of government property.

Radtke had been indicted on seven felony charges, including one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and six counts of theft. The indictment stemmed from a yearlong FBI investigation that revealed the misuse of $500,000 in RICO money by the department.

The indictment alleged Radtke conspired "with persons known and unknown" over five years to circumvent the rules regarding funds generated when law enforcement agencies seize assets during criminal investigations.

During Radtke's sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Backman said his office did not have enough evidence to bring charges against anybody else.

On June 22, Sheriff Mark Napier asked the Pima County Attorney's Office to determine if any state laws had been broken, stating he had questions about whether the federal investigation "completely addressed all criminal conduct and bad actors from a state perspective."

Napier said a review "would allow us to put to rest any additional speculation regarding dispensation of the matter and ensure public confidence in the Pima County Sheriff's Department."

On Monday, Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall asked the AG's Office to head up the investigation, citing a conflict of interest. Mia Garcia, director of media relations for the AG's Office, said Tuesday the office has accepted the case.

"We will be working with our federal law enforcement partners to begin an investigation," she said.

While Sheriff’s Department employees were directing the funds, including those spent by Radtke that resulted in his conviction, RICO monies are held by the County Attorney’s Office, which has oversight over disbursements.

Last month, Radtke voluntarily relinquished his peace officer certification, a decision that means he likely will never again work in law enforcement in Arizona. As part of his plea agreement, Radtke had already been banned from seeking work in law enforcement or with Pima County.

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