Durango Telegraph - Heavy off-road pressure?: Sheriff?s deputy mysteriously withdraws from hearing
Heavy off-road pressure?: Sheriff?s deputy mysteriously withdraws from hearing

In a bizarre twist, a New Mexico deputy sheriff was allegedly blocked from attending last Thursday’s House Natural Resources Committee hearing, where he was expected to share damning testimony.

Deputy Sheriff Alan Franzoy, of Doña Ana County, in southern New Mexico, was slated to testify in the first congressional hearing on the threats

posed by off-road vehicle abuse. He planned to tell Congress about extensive damage caused by a growing “outlaw” ORV element in New Mexico. The sheriff approved of Franzoy testifying but informed him he would be speaking “on his own behalf.”

In the lead-up to Franzoy’s departure, the sheriff’s office reportedly received numerous threatening phone

calls, and at the last minute, Franzoy chose not to board his plane for unexplained reasons.

Franzoy is himself an ORV rider and chairman of New Mexico’s Off-Highway Vehicle Safety Board. He planned to offer testimony that would have included, “I’ve seen first hand that an outlaw contingent of ORV riders are destroying our land and endangering private prop

erty, livestock, wildlife and other public land users.”

There is a long history of intimidation and threats from the off-road community, according to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. “There is no real mystery why this voice was stilled,” he said.

– Will Sands