- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A southern New Mexico ranch for troubled youth is suing a state police officer in federal court over his investigation of abuse allegations.

Scott and Colette Chandler, who operate the Tierra Blanca Ranch Youth Program, filed a complaint last week against New Mexico State Police officer Felipe Gonzales.

They allege authorities and state child welfare workers used a ranch employee’s accidental death as a way to launch an investigation on behalf of a disgruntled parent.

The couple says state officials entered the ranch without a search warrant and interviewed youth residents without permission.

The embattled ranch previously settled a lawsuit against the state in February 2014 and agreed to some state oversight.

New Mexico State Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Armijo said Saturday the agency doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits.

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