The arraignment of two former Kern County Sheriff’s deputies was followed up with an additional bombshell announced at a press conference Tuesday: An allegation of 350 pounds of marijuana stolen on the job — ten times more than disclosed during a federal investigation.
The allegation of the 350 pounds of stolen marijuana from an evidence room was made public at a press conference Tuesday. District Attorney Lisa Green and Sheriff Donny Youngblood in attendance, making their first statements since the two former deputies, Derrick Penney and Logan August, were arrested on new charges.
The two former partners in uniform stood side-by-side, shackled, next to dozens of other criminal defendants and sheriff’s deputies who were once their co-workers in court Tuesday morning.
Logan August pleaded no guilty to 15 felony charges and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Derrick Penney pleaded not guilty to seven felonies and could face nine years in prison.
The Downtown Bakersfield courtroom was filled with August and Penney’s loved ones.
Antony Capozzi, Penney’s attorney said the hearing was difficult.
“It was disheartening, especially after he bared his soul in the federal courts, [pleaded] guilty in the federal courts, admitted what he did and was punished for what he did,” Capozzi said.
“Apparently for the state, that’s not enough punishment.”
The former deputies were sentenced to probation by a federal judge, but never spent a day in jail until last week.
August’s attorney, David Torres, anticipated what DA Lisa Green and Sheriff Donny Youngblood would say at the press conference.
“I believe more likely than not, they’re going to come and say this is justice. This is not justice,” Torres said. “If you look at the word ‘vindictiveness’ in the dictionary, this is exactly what it is and it’s pure mean and evil.”
“There’s absolutely no reason why this case should be prosecuted in a state court,” Torres said.
Green and Youngblood said, however, this isn’t about prosecuting the former deputies for crimes they were already convicted of in federal court.
“In this particular case,” Youngblood said, “deputies in the sherif’s office came forward and articulated more crimes that had occurred.”
Youngblood said he invited federal investigators to come back and continue investigating, notifying them of new allegations against Penney and August, but he said they refused.
“We had two choices. We discovered additional crimes, so we could’ve allowed them to get away with it or we could conduct the proper investigation,” he said.
At that point Youngblood said asked the DA Lisa Green’s office to step in and made a shocking discovery.
“We are not talking about 25 pouunds of marijuana, but 350 pounds of marijuana,” Green said.
In 2016, when August and Penney, supposedly confessed their crimes to the FBI, August said he stole marijuana less than a dozen times, earning a total of $16,000 from selling 33 pounds of it in all.
Penney said he participated only once stealing eight pounds and earning just $1,000.
As of now, no one else has been charged in this case.