The Crestone Eagle • September, 2020
Former deputy skips town
by Mary Lowers
Saguache County Deputy Wayne Clark, who had served with the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) since January 29, 2015, was fired on June 30. The charges of first degree official misconduct were filed by District Attorney (DA) Robert Willett after termination of employment in the Saguache District Court, Twelfth Judicial District. Clark was to be arraigned on July 29 and was unable to be served his summons. A warrant was issued for Wayne Clark for the charge of Official Misconduct charges. Some people think he has left the state.
The witness list for the Clark trial included Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick, Center Police Chief Dale Meek, and investigator Harry Alejo. Sheriff Dan Warwick says charges stem from “cumulative issues” including late reports and cases not investigated. The Sheriff had an outside agency investigate a specific matter involving Deputy Clark.
Looking at the record I can see where Deputy Clark was assigned to the theft investigation of a Moffat pot grow. This led to an investigation of Moffat Mayor Patricia Regiel regarding charges of Official Oppression and First Degree Official Misconduct.
The theft case was assigned to then-Deputy Clark for investigation by SCSO Dispatch on May 18. The case was about the Moffat mayor helping repossess property from a pot grow on 714 Mayor Patricia Regiel Drive for one Geragin Pogosyan aka Po. The out-of-state property owner claimed that the property taken was his, not Po’s.
In a sparse Narrative Report on the theft investigation, Deputy Clark states he spoke with property owner Gao Zengxi, living in Massachusetts. Zengxi called the SCSO about a theft from his property in Moffat. Clark said in this report, “there was a language barrier with Mr. Zengxi.” Clark stated he asked the owner for proof of ownership of the property and video surveillance tapes from the pot grow, along with a list of missing items.
On June 19 Deputy Clark, a month after the fact, filed an Incident Report for a theft of property worth $1000 to $20,000. This was added to the theft case file. Mr Zengxi, the property owner, when questioned by Sheriff Warwick said that the items stolen were worth $43,400. This discrepancy may be a sign of an incomplete investigation on the part of Deputy Clark.
The former deputy claimed in May he could not get hold of Mayor Reigel on her “personal cell phone.” It does not appear that he followed up by leaving a message at the Moffat Town Hall for the mayor, or going by her house to talk about the theft accusation in the month between May 18 when the theft charge was called into the SCSO and assigned to Clark, and his report of June 19.
In a Supplemental Report on the case from Sheriff Warwick dated July 17, after Wayne Clark had been fired and charged with misconduct, the Sheriff states, “I was unaware of any complaints regarding this matter.” It seems that Clark’s incomplete investigation passed under the radar at the SCSO, until Biggio and Whitney Justice had gone into the Sheriff’s Office and spoke to Sheriff Warwick regarding the investigation into the stolen property. Reading Clark’s vague reports on this theft inquiry I can see why the holes in the reports were not noticed. It appears that Clark may have been involved in having the property taken from the pot grow, but an investigation will have to bear that out or not.
Based on the Supplemental Report from Sheriff Warwick regarding the theft case, the discrepancies and omissions in Clark’s reports and lack of complete investigation of the reported theft are clear. Since Clark has left town, our opportunity for clarity in this case will come to some degree when Moffat Mayor Patricia Reigel goes to court on charges of Official Misconduct related to this theft investigation, or when Wayne Clark is apprehended on his failure to appear warrant and faces his charges in open court. The Eagle will keep covering this story as it develops.