LOS ANGELES – A former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy and a male co-conspirator were sentenced today(Tuesday) to four and two years in prison respectively for attempting to smuggle drugs into a county jail facility guarded by the deputy.
Peter Paul Felix, 26, had been a sheriff’s deputy about two years until he resigned shortly after Oct. 13, 2008. On that date he was caught attempting to smuggle 161.5 grams of heroin, 24.4 grams of methamphetamine and 51.5 grams of marijuana into the North County Correctional Facility where he worked as a guard.
Felix, who pleaded no contest on June 10 to possession for sale of a controlled substance, was sentenced by Judge James Bianco to four years in state prison, said Deputy District Attorney Paul Nunez, with the Justice System Integrity Division.
Terance Anthony Warner, 28, an inmate at the time at North County jail who arranged the drug pickup, pleaded no contest today to the same charge. He was sentenced to two years in state prison, Nunez said.
A third co-conspirator, Monique Ciara Garcia, 22, who delivered the drugs to Felix, pleaded no contest to the same count and was sentenced June 23 to two years in state prison.
A sheriff’s spokesman said officials reassigned an Industry detective to administrative duty after allegations surfaced that he had a Rosemead man arrested to further a relationship with the man’s wife.
Detective Phil Solano remains at the Industry Station pending the outcome of the investigation, said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca.
The probe began in April shortly after the Sheriff’s Department received a complaint, Whitmore said.
“That’s news to me,” Solano said of the investigation. He declined to comment further.
According to court documents, Alberto Gutierrez, 36, was arrested in June 2008 on suspicion of making death threats and violating a domestic restraining order, Solano investigated the case.
In September 2008 Solano arrested Gutierrez on suspicion of violating a restraining order and stalking.
Gutierrez said at the time of his arrests he didn’t know Solano and his wife Mayela Gutierrez knew each other. But, during his April trial, Gutierrez learned that his wife and Solano were Facebook friends. Solano testified under oath that he had “one communication” with Mayela, according to court documents.
Despite the Internet relationship with the suspect’s wife, Solano, a 29-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, investigated the case and testified against Gutierrez, according to court documents.
The suit, filed by Montebello attorney Arnoldo Casillas on behalf of a man who was arrested by suspended officer Tyler Kennedy makes the explosive claim.
The man says Kennedy arrested him and asked a judge to hold him without bail so that Kennedy could carry on an affair with his wife. Here’s the relevant portion of the suit:
“Officers of the West Covina Police Department were permitted to and regularily did pursue and maintain intimate relationships with the victims in the sexual abuse cases they were investigating,”
Casillas’ suit also claims that West Covina officers routinely discriminate against minorities using illegal searches and seizures — and that city officials covered up the criminal activities of rogue West Covina cops.
Kennedy and West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills deny the claims. West Covina Mayor Shelley Sanderson said she backs the police department.
LOS ANGELES — A former Redondo Beach police officer has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $72,000 from his police union. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office says 40-year-old Gene Tomatani entered his plea Wednesday to one count felony grand theft. He is expected to pay over $85,000 in restitution. Prosecutors say Tomatani stole from the Redondo Beach Police Officer’s Association while serving as treasurer and then president of the group from 2004 to 2008. Tomatani will be sentenced March 15. He faces up to four years in state prison. Tomatani resigned from the department in October.
West Covina police have opened an investigation into one of their own after the victim of an alleged rape accused a sergeant assigned to sexual crimes investigations of propositioning her.
In a related, but separate investigation, officials said Thursday the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will probe allegations of misconduct against Baldwin Park police Chief Lili Hadsell, per her request.
A 49-year-old woman told West Covina police investigators Monday that a sergeant propositioned and sexually harassed her during and after a rape investigation he conducted.
The woman alleges she was raped by her estranged husband, a prominent San Gabriel doctor who is Hadsell’s brother. Her estranged husband did not return phone calls seeking comment.
“I was raped, going through a nasty divorce and then they stick me with this cop,” the woman said in an interview. “He harassed me through the whole investigation. I was scared. I’m still scared.
“Who do you trust?” she said.
The sergeant under investigation did not return calls seeking comment.
West Covina police Chief Frank Wills said his department will investigate the woman’s claims. He added the law limits what he can say about police personnel matters.
“The department is aware of the allegations and is taking appropriate steps to look into those allegations,” Wills said.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will not file charges against an El Monte police officer who kicked a suspect in the face at the end of a pursuit.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors said Officer George Fierro was justified in kicking Richard Rodriguez because the officer feared Rodriguez might try to get up off the ground.
Prosecutors described the kick as a “distraction blow to get (Rodriguez) top submit to the arrest.”
Prosecutors also said they would not charge Officer James Singleterry, who hit Rodriguez four times on the arm with a flashlight. The kick followed a high speed car chase on May 13. At the end of the chase, Rodriguez crashed his car and ran.
El Monte City Councilwoman Emily Ishigaki called the decision “wonderful news.”
“I have always felt George was a good officer. He does a good job in the field. He is very experienced,” she said.
Ishigaki, who has known Fierro for 12 years, said she was confident officials conducted a thorough investigation before making their decision.
CANTON, Ohio — The police chief of a northeast Ohio township has retired after a video became public showing him and a female office kissing and caressing in the front of a police cruiser while a prisoner was in the back seat.
Timothy Escola retired Tuesday night after four years with the Perry Township police department about 50 miles south of Cleveland. Law Director Charles Hall says Escola’s retirement closes an internal investigation.
Hall says no charges are being considered against part-time officer Janine England, who was with Escola in the cruiser June 2.
Escola and England drove to the Cincinnati area to pick up a burglary suspect.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown will unveil the findings of a 16-month probe into the Maywood Police Department this afternoon. Here’s the AP’s version of the story:
LOS ANGELES–A small police department that patrols two gritty cities engaged in widespread use of unlawful force and routinely lacked probable cause to justify arrests and searches, the state attorney general said Tuesday.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown released a lengthy report detailing the findings of a 16-month investigation of the Maywood Police Department.
The report slammed the department on several fronts, criticizing its hiring of officers with misdemeanor convictions and its fostering of what it called an endemic attitude of discourtesy, sexism and racial insensitivity.
“The Maywood Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprived persons of rights, privileges or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution,” the report states.
Maywood Police Chief Frank Hauptmann’s executive assistant Evelyn Ruedas said the chief was declining comment on the report.