Unanswered Questions

Kern Corruption - Background

We know the drug conspiracy ring spans half a decade, involving two local law enforcement agencies, civilians and unnamed police informants but as new details trickle out, it continues to become more apparent how much is still unknown about these cases.

Plus, suspicions grow as many ask – why didn’t all of this come out sooner and what else hasn’t come out?

BPD detective Damacio Diaz initially implicated his partner, Patrick Mara, and five other officers – who were placed on leave.

Then-Police Chief Greg Williamson downplayed their involvement.

“During the course of this investigation it became clear that Damacio Diaz intentionally manipulated numerous officers,” said Chief Williamson.

“He gained their trust and once the officers were out of the picture, in other words Detective Diaz was in charge of the investigation and once they left, that is when the corruption began.”

“I don’t buy that,” said Diaz’s attorney David Torres.

From the start, Torres believed this went further than Diaz and Mara.

5/27/16 Damacio Diaz Plea

“This is going to actually expose a substantial amount of police corruption that has been happening here in Kern County and that is primarily with some of the narcotics units,” said Torres.

In court documents, Diaz outlined allegations narcotics officers routinely falsified reports, lied to supervisors, stole drugs, misappropriated money, dealt with informants off the books and drank on duty.

“We’ll look into the additional policy violations that he talks about here, but at the same time we have to remember what the source is, and I don’t think there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind that this is just a plea for him for some lenient sentence,” said Chief Williamson.

After the investigation, officer Justin Lewis resigned.

The other four unnamed officers returned to duty.

5/13/17 – How We Got Here

“The five officers were not in violation of federal law, however there may be some policy violations in regard to that,” said Chief Williamson.

But the BPD never detailed what those officers did.

“There’s either right or there’s wrong, there’s legal or illegal,” said Torres.

While investigators acknowledge these corruption cases are connected, they’ve never explained how the disgraced lawmen began working together.

There’s also one key confidential informant for the Sheriff’s Department who’s never been publicly identified.

But we do know that deputies Logan August and Derrick Penney gave marijuana to that person, who then sold the drugs.

Investigators also have never said if that informant is facing any charges.

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