Politician accused of slashing opponent's tires

Posted at: 12/28/2012 9:31 PM
Updated at: 12/28/2012 10:09 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A former Republican candidate for New Mexico's First Congressional District is in jail accused of slashing his rival’s tires at her home.

Janice Arnold-Jones, who was the 2012 Republican nominee for New Mexico's First Congressional District, turned over home surveillance video to the Albuquerque Police Department showing an older man slashing her tire with an ice pick on Dec. 20.

Arnold Jones suspected the man in the video was Gary Smith. In April 2012, Arnold-Jones’s campaign sued Smith alleging he did not have enough petition signatures to get on the Republican Primary Election ballot. A judge agreed and the legal move paved the way for Arnold-Jones to run unopposed during the primary election. Arnold-Jones said she suspected Smith slashed her tires in revenge.

Albuquerque police Detective Lorenzo Garcia said he was able to verify the man in the video was Smith.

"I looked at Gary Smith's MVD photo and compared it with the video and it showed it did appear to be him," Garcia said.

Arnold-Jones said the incident has caused her and her family to worry about their safety.

"This is not politics,” Arnold-Jones said. “I know what it's like when there is political retribution. You lose your bills, you lose your office, you lose your parking space, that's none of this. This is an assault on my private property on our residence and I believe it's by someone who is not very stable."

Albuquerque police arrested Smith at his home Friday evening. Only KOB Eyewitness News 4's cameras were present as Smith was placed under arrest.

"Did you slash those tires?” KOB Reporter Chris Ramirez asked while Smith was in the back of a patrol car.

“I don't even know what's going on,” Smith replied. “They haven't explained anything to me yet. I don't even know why they came to my house.”

“Well according to the arrest warrant you are being arrested because you were slashing Janice Arnold-Jones' tires. Did you do it?” asked Ramirez.

“No, not at all,” replied Smith.

“What if we told you there was video of you doing that? Would you still say you're not the person?” asked Ramirez.

“Sure," replied Smith.

Police said they believe Smith may also be responsible for slashing the tires of other Republicans who participated in the lawsuit against Smith.

Smith now faces a felony charge of criminal damage to property and is custody until he can post a $5,000 bond.

Arnold-Jones lost to Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham for the U.S Congressional District-1 seat in November. The seat was vacated by Martin Heinrich who won a seat in the U.S. Senate.