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California task force commander pleads guilty to stealing drugs

The former commander of a Northern California drug task force has agreed to a plea arrangement in which he will enter a guilty plea to five counts of drug charges and corruption stemming from an investigation into his conduct with a private investigator. The former cop was accused of stealing drugs as well as owning a brothel and robbing prostitutes. He will plead to charges including possession, distribution and
sale of narcotics; illegal search and seizure; and theft from a federally-funded program.

The former leader of the Central Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team was working with a private investigator when he allegedly opened a massage parlor that was actually a front for a prostitution ring. He was also accused of conducting sting operations on similar brothels while using police protection for his own operation.

The private investigator who was allegedly involved with the suspect in many of his illegal activities gave authorities a great deal of information that led in part to the charges. The private investigator was already facing a number of unrelated charges involving his own illegal activities as well as those of a number of other police officers. He is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence following his own guilty plea.

The police officer was facing 25 years in prison and could still spend 17 years behind bars as a result of his plea. His criminal defense attorney stated that he advised him to enter a plea because of the evidence available to the prosecution. In many cases, criminal defense lawyers must try to work out plea agreements for their clients to reduce their charges and to minimize the possibility of long prison sentences.

Source: ABC 7, "Ex-police officer to plead guilty in drug case," Dec. 4, 2012

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