The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 6, 2014

Police officer accused of forgery, funding inmate

ST. PAUL (AP) — A St. Paul police officer faces three forgery-related charges for allegedly using someone else's identity to funnel money to a gang member who was imprisoned for attempted murder, authorities said Friday.

Ruby Diaz, a 38-year-old school resource officer at Humboldt High School, has been placed on administrative leave, police Chief Tom Smith said. Authorities discovered Diaz had a relationship with the inmate while police were following up on a shooting investigation, and they traced deposits into his prison account back to Diaz's work computer and her credit cards, according to a criminal complaint.

Smith described the inmate, Ramone Smaller, as "a very violent individual." He is in the state prison in St. Cloud after pleading guilty last December to third-degree attempted murder. On Friday, he was charged with 10 new firearms and assault counts related to shootings last October that authorities said were gang-related.

In one of those shootings, authorities allege, more than two dozen rounds were fired into a house where two senior citizens lived. The criminal complaint says one of the women is the grandmother of a man in a rival gang.

"Innocent community members were caught in the crossfire," Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said. "These crimes were the result of a petty gang feud between rival gangs. ... My hope is that today's charges will bring some modicum of peace to our community."

Craig Cascarano, Smaller's attorney in the attempted murder case, said the new charges came as a surprise. He said that as he was negotiating Smaller's plea deal, he was not aware that Smaller was a suspect in any October shootings.

Diaz does not have a listed phone number. It was not immediately clear if she had an attorney.

According to the complaint against Diaz, filed in Hennepin County, Diaz used another woman's name and identifying information to wire money to Smaller while he was in prison.

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