UPDATE: Use of force by undercover deputy during drug sting found to be within KCSO policy

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UPDATE (2/10): The Kern County Sheriff’s Office said the Critical Incident Review Board has determined that the use of force by the undercover deputy in the shooting was within department policy.

KCSO has also put out a video with details about the shooting.


(1/25): Court documents detailing an undercover narcotics sting in North Bakersfield give a clearer picture of what happened the day a federal agent was allegedly almost kidnapped by the suspects during the exchange.

Keisean Rockmore, 27, and Adrian Rodriguez Cardenas, 20, face multiple charges for the incident, which led to an officer-involved shooting on January 19. The third suspect’s name is redacted, with court documents saying they are 14 years old and were picked up in a vehicle by the other suspects before they met the investigators.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration were working together in the sting near a McDonald’s parking lot on Merle Haggard Drive and Industry Parkway Drive. They met the suspects for a sale of 1000 pills of “m-30 fentanyl, ” which the DEA describes as counterfeit pills that resemble legitimate painkillers, but are laced with the synthetic opioid that has caused a wave of overdose deaths in the United States.

According to probable cause documents, a DEA agent leaned into the suspects’ car to make the exchange, when the teen suspect tried to grab the cash from her and pulled out a gun. A Sheriff’s Deputy drew his own gun and moved to pull her out of the car, while the suspect held on to the agent’s clothes and reportedly threatened to kill the officers.

Shots were fired, but no one was hit, and the suspects drove off, sparking a pursuit where they were seen driving “in wanton disregard for the safety of other drivers and pedestrians,” according to the documents. The pursuit ended at an apartment complex in the area of S Montclair and Marsha Streets. All 3 suspects were arrested and a loaded gun was recovered, along with more than 3 dozen pills.

Rockmore reportedly admitted to being the driver, while Rodriguez Cardenas allegedly told investigators he and Rockmore had planned to rob the undercover agents.

A fourth suspect, Nicole January, was also arrested after Rodriguez Cardenas reportedly contacted her to bring him money from a residence, which investigators believe is from drug sales. According to the probable cause document, the two had been involved in a previous sting where undercover investigators met with them to buy fentanyl pills nearly two weeks before the Merle Haggard incident.

Rockmore and January are both out of custody. All adult suspects are currently due back in court next month.

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