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Fired Denver deputy bought felon cars, posted his bond, internal investigation reveals

Sylvia Montoya was fired late last month. Video shows her escorting the felon into the jail visitor area where they signed paperwork to buy a car.
Credit: AlexLMX
Photo: Thinkstock

DENVER — A deputy with the Denver Sheriff's Department was fired after an internal investigation revealed she bought two vehicles with a known felon, rented him an apartment and posted bond for him and another inmate, according to a letter from the Denver Department of Public Safety.

Deputy Sylvia Montoya, 46, and Timothy Spikes, a known felon who she had a relationship with, were indicted earlier this year on federal drug charges of distributing cocaine and methamphetamine from their Lakewood apartment, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Montoya was charged with three counts and Spikes was indicted on eight counts. Both appeared in court in early June, where each entered a plea of not guilty. 

In a letter to Montoya dated Aug. 23, the Denver Department of Public Safety informed Montoya she was "terminated effective immediately" for conduct that violated career service and sheriff's department's rules.

It specifically outlined that conduct as "being charged with or convicted of a crime". It also states that she violated a department rule which prohibits employees from developing personal relationships with current or former inmates within five days of their release.

Employees are also required to report any "continuing relationships with prisoner or ex-prisoners" in writing to the Internal Affairs Bureau, something the letter says she Montoya didn't do. 

RELATED: Denver sheriff's deputy arrested on drug trafficking charges

According to the letter, Montoya admitted she's known Spikes since the 1990s because they grew up in the same neighborhood. She also said they began a relationship in the spring of 2017, the letter says.

Interactions between the two were first uncovered as part of surveillance of Spikes by officers with the Denver Police Department

In May 2018, Spikes' parole officer went to his residence of record on Yates Street in Denver and after 10 minutes of knocking, Montoya answered the door, the letter says. According to the letter, she told the officer Spikes was her son's friend and that he "sometimes stayed there."

On Nov. 4,  2018, Spikes was contacted by parole officers and other law enforcement going into his Lakewood apartment, according to the letter. Four days later as part of their investigation officers met with the leasing manager of the apartments and were told the apartment was leased to Montoya and that she paid for rent using an account under her name.

The following month, Spikes called Montoya numerous times while he was incarcerated for several days at the Douglas County Jail, according to the letter. She eventually agreed to come to the jail to pick him up after his release, the letter says.

Denver Police officers conducting surveillance of Spikes in February 2019 saw Spikes driving a 2018 Dodge Challenger, according to the letter. A woman, later identified as Montoya met up with Spikes and they drove off in separate cars, according to the letter.

Officers pulled over Montoya for unreadable license plates and noticed a Fraternal Order of Police card in the car and asked where she worked, according to the letter. That officer asked for Montoya's Denver Sheriff Department ID for verification, the letter says.

They also noted that the Dodge Challenger Spike was driving was registered under both Montoya and Spikes' names, according to the letter.

Her interactions with Spikes were reported to both the Denver Police Departments and the sheriff's department's internal affairs units, according to the letter.

On Feb. 27, Montoya and Spikes attempted to lease a 2019 Hellcat but were told at the dealership that they needed a $10,000 down payment and left, according to the letter. They left because Montoya had to go to work, but Spikes later returned with the money to buy the vehicle but couldn't do so until Montoya signed paperwork, according to the letter.

They agreed to sign that paperwork at the Denver Detention Center(DDC), and video from there shows Montoya, while in uniform, escorting Spikes and a car salesman into the visiting area where she signed paperwork to purchase the vehicle, the letter says. Spikes left the DDC in the vehicle.

In early March, Spikes was pulled over in Aurora while driving the Hellcat, the letter says. It was impounded after a narcotics dog alerted on the car and Spikes refused the open the glove compartment, the letter says.

Later that month, Montoya was pulled over by Denver Police, but the letter doesn't explain why. Spikes was riding in the passenger seat and was taken into custody on a warrant from Aurora, according to the letter.

While in custody at DDC, Spikes called Montoya 15 times, the letter says. The calls were recorded. During the calls, she agrees to post his bond and they discuss what was found in the Hellcat impounded by police, according to the letter. She also told Spikes she was put on leave and "will probably lose her job," according to the letter.

Montoya is accused of possessing and intending to distribute 28 grams or more of substance that contained crack cocaine and more than five grams of methamphetamine, the indictment says. 

Both are accused of using their apartment on South Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood to distribute those drugs.

While officers waited for a warrant to search that apartment the letter says, Montoya went to the leasing office and said she had lost her keys and attempted to get the lock changed, the letter says.

A search of it later found the following items:

  • 65 grams of cocaine in the pantry
  • 38 grams of crack cocaine in pantry
  • 27 grams of Methamphetamine
  • .5 grams of heroin found in a pair of pants

Spikes also faces charges for possessing a weapon as a previous offender, according to the indictment.

Credit: Courtesy Denver DA's Office

Montoya began working for the Denver Sheriff's Department in 2012 as a civilian, but became a sworn officer in 2016, according to Kelli Christensen, the director of communications at the Department of Public Safety. 

She was placed on paid investigatory leave beginning on April 1 for not disclosing she had a relationship with Spikes, who is a known felon, Christensen said. Andrea Webber, records administrator for the Department of Public Safety, said in an email that Montoya was paid $9,468.16 during this time.

Following her arrest on May 29, Montoya was placed on unpaid leave, according to Christensen and was eventually fired.

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