Kern Corruption: New indictments from Bakersfield grand jury; Former sheriff’s deputies charged

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The Kern County Grand Jury secretly handed down more than a dozen felony indictments in connection with the law enforcement corruption scandal that has rocked Bakersfield for two years, Channel 17 has learned.

The indictments name former sheriff’s deputies Logan August, 32, and Derrick Penney, 36.  

A search in the Kern County inmate website, shows August was charged with 15 felony charges including conspiracy, burglary and selling marijuana.

He turned himself to the downtown jail shortly after 1 p.m. Friday. Penney remains in custody in Idaho. 

August and his narcotics squad partner Penney were at the heart of federal court allegations against numerous detectives in the Sheriff’s Department and Bakersfield Police Department over the last two years.

August and Penney pleaded guilty in federal court in Fresno last year to felony charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. A judge sentenced them to a no-prison probation term. They never spent a day behind bars. Since those sentences were handed down, August has operated a Crossfit gym on Easton Drive. He put his Seven Oaks house on the market in July for $430,000. Penney opened a construction business with his brothers in Idaho, where he now lives. 

The new charges, in Kern County Superior Court, could result in the kind of prison time many local prosecutors believe police corruption deserves. 

The corruption case came to light in 2016 with the federal charges against then-Bakersfield police detectives Patrick Mara and Damacio Diaz.

Court documents accused Mara and Diaz with working with August and Penney to steal and sell marijuana. The four were narcotics detectives.

August stole marijuana from pot busts 10 times in in 2014 and, at least once, August and Penney used their keys to raid a narcotics evidence locker, according to admissions they signed as part of the 2017 federal plea bargain.

When the two were sentenced to only probation, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood told 17 News he wasn’t satisfied with the investigation and sentencing.

“Ninety-nine percent of the officers at the sheriff’s office are shocked and disgusted at the sentences these two crooks got,” the sheriff said last year.

“This isn’t just someone off the street that stole something. These are two people off the streets that were sworn to protect, given guns, given badges, given the power to remove children from homes. To take people’s freedom.”

For key players, a timeline of events, and court documents, click here.

17 News will have complete coverage in a special edition after Thursday Night Football.

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