California detective charged with conspiring with drug dealer

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 20, 2015 8:11 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California police detective was arrested on Friday on federal charges of providing a drug dealer with information about his department's investigations such as the names of informants, authorities said.

Bakersfield police Detective Damacio Diaz, 43, was also charged in the 16-count U.S. District Court indictment handed down on Thursday with possessing methamphetamine.

Diaz accepted $5,000 in bribes from a narcotics dealer each year between 2012 and 2015, and in return he provided the dealer with the identities of police informants and tipped him off to law enforcement investigations, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a written statement

He also set aside for himself some methamphetamine that he obtained through his work as a narcotics detective, said the statement. And he filed false tax returns for 2012 and 2013, it said.

"No one is above the law. The alleged criminal activity put law enforcement officers at grave risk and significantly undermines public trust in law enforcement," Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sacramento field office, said in a statement.

Diaz, who has been placed on administrative leave by the Bakersfield Police Department, pleaded not guilty to all the charges in federal court in Bakersfield on Friday, said his attorney, David Torres. He was released in lieu of a bond of $200,000, he said.

Torres said he is awaiting documents from prosecutors on the basis for the charges against his client.

Diaz is charged with conspiracy, bribery, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, intentional disclosure of wiretap information and making a false income tax return.

He faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted on all charges.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Sandra Maler)