Four years ago on a hot summer evening in Bakersfield, three narcotics detectives got together for beer and barbecue. What they cooked up that night was a raid on the sheriff’s department evidence locker.

That’s the picture painted by Kern County Deputy District Attorney Garrett Rice as he won indictments against two of the detectives, according to transcripts unsealed Friday.

The Kern County Grand Jury met in secret from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4, hearing testimony from 16 witnesses. Jurors voted to indict former sheriff’s detectives Logan August, 32,  and Derrick Penney, 36, on 15 felony charges. They voted to dismiss two additional charges.

Witnesses told grand jurors it all began with the barbecue which included August, Penney and then-Bakersfield Police Detective Patrick Mara, 38.

The basics of the conspiracy became public when Mara and his BPD detective partner, Damacio Diaz, 46, pleaded guilty two years ago in federal court to conspiracy to distribute drugs. Each is serving five years in federal prison.

August and Penney also pleaded guilty in federal court. They were sentenced to probation and never spent a night in jail.

But then local authorities, led by the public integrity division of the Kern County District Attorney’s Office, began a separate investigation that led to the indictment and arrests of August and Penney.

In the grand jury hearings, investigators testified August, Penney and Mara were at a barbecue  Sept. 18, 2014. They laughed, drank beer and talked about a large marijuana bust that week, according to testimony. Investigators said that’s when they came up with the idea to break into sheriff’s department evidence room and steal part of the marijuana the deputies had just seized.

Investigators said August and Penney took  34 lbs. of processed marijuana, worth about $34,000. Additionally, they sawed off the most valuable parts of plants to process into sellable marijuana.

Deputy D.A. Rice told grand jurors this wasn’t the only time August and Penney stole marijuana. They are accused of stealing more than 350 lbs., worth about $350,000.

The grand jury transcripts are more than 500 pages. Channel 17’s Kristin Price – the only reporter to have the documents, is analyzing the evidence. We will post additional stories as they become available. We will have complete coverage on Channel 17 News.

For a timeline of events and list of key players, visit: kget.com/kern-corruption