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Angove, extortion investigations complete

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

The investigations surrounding former Del Norte County Administrative Officer Ben Angove and the two women charged with extorting money from him are both completed, according to County Counsel Bob Black.

But the results of those investigations are still not being released to the public. And neither are any incident reports or arrest records.

Its still going to take a little while to digest all the information and make a decision on it, said Del Norte County District Attorney Bob Drossel.

It is ultimately Drossels decision whether to file criminal charges against Angove or the two women who have been charged with extortion.

The evidence shows the two cases are interrelated, Drossel said.

Angove abruptly resigned Sept. 20. The day after, a subpoena to seize the hard drive from his work computer was served on the county.

I have reasonable cause to believe that felony and or misdemeanor crimes have been committed by Ben Angove, said the subpoena, signed by Det. Pat Martin of the Del Norte County Sheriffs Department.

Angove has not been arrested, but both Hibshman, who said she had a romantic relationship with Angove, and Rathbone were taken into custody the day after Angoves resignation.

According to the two women, law enforcement officials believe the women attempted to extort $1,000 from Angove in exchange for their silence. A letter written by one of the women was given to the police as evidence.

The women said, though, that the letter was simply one of many they wrote all at once as a sort of self-therapy.

Rathbone said Angove bragged of his political clout in the community, and that scared her.

At one point he said who do you think they will listen to, you or me, and I said Yeah, youve got a point there, Rathbone said. Her husband is nearing parole at Pelican Bay State Prison.

Drossel said he will certainly have a decision on whether any charges will be filed by Oct. 16, the date of Rathbones and Hibshmans arraignment.

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