FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A deputy police chief in California has resigned amid federal drug charges, including conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and heroin, authorities said Friday.
Deputy Chief Keith Foster's retirement from the Fresno Police Department was effective immediately, his attorney E. Marshall Hodgkins said in a statement. Foster, 51, was among six people arrested last week, ending a yearlong investigation by the FBI and ATF that used wiretaps and surveillance.
"After much reflection, and on the advice of counsel, he has determined that his effectiveness in the department would be severely limited even if he is ultimately exonerated of the federal charges currently pending against him," Hodgkins said in a statement provided to Fresno Bee (http://bit.ly/1HxpnNP).
A 29-year veteran of the department, Foster was placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest on suspicion of conspiracy to distribute and/or possess the drugs with the intent to distribute them. Foster had overseen patrol in four police districts as a deputy chief since 2007. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains free from jail while the case plays out in court.
According to a sworn affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, investigators say they recorded Foster making a call on Dec. 23 to an associate with a felony drug conviction, saying that he had "100 of those things." Foster had picked up a prescription for 100 oxycodone tables at a Rite Aid pharmacy drive-thru and then took them to the associate's home. Foster filled another prescription of oxycodone pills one month later, court papers say.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Foster retired rather than being forced to give a statement to police investigators, or be fired for failing to do so. Dyer told the newspaper that he will use insights that Fresno police and FBI investigators take from the case to enact reforms that will keep the department from "going through embarrassment that it has just gone through."
If convicted, Foster could spend up to 45 years in prison and be ordered to pay $2.5 million in fines. The Associated Press could not reach Foster's attorney for comment on Saturday.