Kern Corruption: The witnesses

Kern Corruption - story image

BPD – Det. Paul Yoon

Det. Paul Yoon investigated the federal case into Damacio Diaz and Patrick Mara.

Yoon is part of the Bakersfield Police Department Major Narcotics Unit. He works with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service.

In 2017, The Bakersfield Police Department awarded Det. Paul Yoon detective of the year.

In 2013, he was honored by the U.S. Justice Department for his service as the lead task force office for the Central California Financial Crimes Task Force. It was part of the Eastern District of California Law Enforcement Awards. In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office pointed out Yoon’s work on the Maxwell, Turner and Associates Inc. case involving a fraudulent debt-collecting ring. Yoon also investigated local businesses involved in money laundering. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said his work led to more than $1 million in seizures in 2012.

Yoon became a BPD officer in 2001.

In 1998, he was hired by the Los Angeles Police Department. 

KCSO – Lt. Erik Levig

Lt. Erik Levig conducted the internal investigation at the sheriff’s department following the announcement of a plea deal in the case against Logan August and Derrick Penney. Levig’s investigation led to a criminal investigation with the Kern County District Attorney’s Office. 

Employment records show Levig was promoted to Lieutenant in 2018. In 2015, Levig became a Sergeant. He graduated the academy in 2006.

KCSO – Gena Eddy

Gena Eddy is a Sheriff’s aide. In 2007, Eddy was promoted to supervising Sheriff’s report technician. She has worked for the department, in multiple capacities, for 34 years. 

KCSO – Sheriff Donny Youngblood

After Logan August and Derrick Penney were sentenced, Sheriff Donny Youngblood voiced his displeasure with the sentencing. During election interviews in April 2018, Youngblood said the investigation wasn’t over. We later learned, that same month, Kern County District Attorney investigators interviewed August. 

Youngblood testified he was informed early into the FBI investigation into Damacio Diaz and Patrick Mara, that the investigation would also include two deputies.  

Youngblood was elected Sheriff in 2006. He started with the department in 1972.

CHP – Officer Brian Paxson

Officer Brian Paxson works with K-9 Duch who is trained on drug detection. On January 14, 2014 Officer Paxson and Duch pulled over a car with a large amount of marijuana. Logan August transported the marijuana to the sheriff’s department. Paxson went through the academy in 1999.

U.S. Forest Service – Agent Brian Adams

Brian Adams works on marijuana eradication in the Kern River Valley. Adams is named in multiple news releases about marijuana operations in 2013 and 2014. He worked on a marijuana bust in September 2014 in the Sequoia Ranger District. Logan August eventually transported the marijuana. Adams has been with the U.S. Forest Service for 33 years, 26 of those in the capacity of a law enforcement officer. 

DA’s Office – Investigator Jerald Wyatt

Jerald Wyatt began working for the District Attorney’s Office in 2017 as a victim/witness services specialist. He worked on the DA’s criminal investigation into Logan August and Derrick Penney. 

Wyatt was a Kern High School District officer. In 2016, he became acting police chief. Lt. Wyatt stepped up when Chief Joseph Lopeteguy was placed on administrative leave, then went on medical leave.

Lopeteguy sued the district claiming whistleblower retaliation. In 2017, Wyatt also sued the district.

In the claim, KHSD administrators accused Wyatt of “using his color of authority” to misuse California Law Enforcement Telecommunication System to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

KCSO – Sgt. Mark Warren

Sgt. Mark Warren was in charge of the property room in 2014. Warren is on the Kern Law Enforcement Association board. He serves as a director. Warren was promoted to sergeant in 2014. He was a part of KCSO’s CalMMET team. In 2004, Warren was recognized for outstanding performance in vehicle theft recoveries and arrests.

KCSO – Sgt. Raul Murillo

Raul Murillo was promoted to sergeant in 2014. In 2012, Murillo was one of nine deputies involved in a shooting in Lamont. Derrick Penney was also involved.

Murillo was promoted to senior deputy in 2009. He joined the department in 2000.

KCSO – Aide Ricardo Zavala

Ricardo Zavala became a Sheriff’s aide in 2014. He previously worked as a human services aide.

Zavala worked in the property room during the time in question. 

KCSO – Chris Mulanax

Chris Mulanax was promoted to technology services supervisor in 2017. In 2010 he was recognized by the department for his work. Mulanax was promoted to senior info systems specialist in 2008. According to his LinkedIn, he has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 2000.

Shafter PD – Chief Kevin Zimmerman

Kevin Zimmerman became Shafter Police Chief in 2016. He previously worked for the Sheriff’s Department where his highest ranking was chief deputy.

During the time in question, Zimmerman signed off on marijuana destruction orders.

Zimmerman was promoted to sergeant in 2005.

KCSO – James Flad

According to his LinkedIn, James Flad is a maintenance superintendent. He is in charge of all jail maintenance. The department contacts Flad when a marijuana destruction order has been approved. Flad prepares an area of Lerdo or burial. 

DA’s Office – Investigator Don Krueger

Don Krueger started working for the District Attorney’s Office in 2014. Krueger was part of the DA’s criminal investigation into Logan August and Derrick Penney. 

Prior to working for the DA, Krueger was a Bakersfield Police Officer. During his time with the BPD, Krueger was an Internal Affairs Investigator and Detective. His highest ranking with the BPD was Lieutenant.

CPA Kim Lohman

Kim Lohman has owned an accounting frim, Lohman Goni and Associates,since 2012. She was contracted by the sheriff’s department to analyze tax returns related to the case. 

Prior to working for herself, she worked as a senior manager and supervisor of accounting firms.

KCSO – Programmer Jay Liu

Shengjie Liu began working as a programmer for the county in 2013.

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