Another Police Officer Sentenced in the Wake of Rampart Corruption Scandal

By Michael Webster: Investigative Reporter Might 7, 2008 twelve:00 PM PDT
U.S. Justice Section reports that previous Long Seaside police officer Joseph Ferguson was sentenced in federal court docket in Los Angeles, Calif., for his job in a series of dwelling invasion robberies around a two-year period of time which ended up related to the LAPD in the wake of the 1999 Rampart corruption scandal. Ferguson was sentenced to ninety seven months in jail and four years of supervised release.
On Jan. thirty, 2008, a Los Angeles jury convicted the defendant of conspiring to violate civil legal rights, conspiring to possess narcotics with intent to distribute, and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. The defendant’s brother and co-defendant, previous Los Angeles police officer William Ferguson, was also convicted of deprivation of legal rights under colour of regulation and a number of firearms offenses and is scheduled to be sentenced on Might 19, 2008.
As previously noted by this reporter the evidence at demo confirmed that the defendant and his co-defendants ended up associates of a huge-ranging prison conspiracy, led by previous Los Angeles police officer Ruben Palomares and which includes other regulation enforcement officers and drug sellers. Alongside one another, they dedicated more than 40 burglaries and robberies all through the Los Angeles area involving early 1999 and June of 2001. The robberies commonly ended up dedicated just after the team received information that a unique site was concerned in illegal drug-trafficking. The theft groups generally consisted of a number of sworn police officers in uniform or exhibiting a formal police badge, who would get access to the residence by falsely telling any occupants that they ended up police officers and that they ended up conducting a legitimate research for prescription drugs or drug sellers. Victims usually ended up violently restrained, threatened or assaulted throughout the research. These brutal assaults included firing point blank stun gun at a target, striking victims with police batons and placing a gun in the mouth of victims. Right after these on and off responsibility police officers stole the prescription drugs, they would use co-conspirators to sell the prescription drugs and they would break up the earnings amongst the team.
In all, 17 defendants, which includes regulation enforcement officers from the Los Angeles Police Section, the Long Seaside Police Section, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Section, and the California Section of Corrections have been convicted or have previously pleaded guilty to federal crimes in connection with the conspiracies.
 “This previous police officer violated his oath as a community servant when he, along with his co-defendants, started partaking in violent prison conduct,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Legal professional Normal for the Civil Legal rights Division. “Though the extensive vast majority of regulation enforcement officers carry out their hard responsibilities in a experienced fashion, the Section of Justice will not be reluctant to prosecute these who cross that line.”
In the course of the program of the conspiracy, Palomares presented associates with formal LAPD badges, uniforms, radios, firearms and other products. Some of the robberies ended up dedicated just after the robbers drove to the site in formal LAPD police black and white squad vehicles. The robbers utilized the LAPD products to make victims believe that they ended up the topic of legitimate regulation enforcement functions and to reduce the defendants’ risk of staying questioned if confronted by regulation enforcement officers.
The indictment alleged a series of incidents in which the theft crew broke into properties and commercial institutions with the goal of acquiring narcotics, hard cash, guns and other valuables. Palomares was concerned in all of the incidents, with the Fergusons and Loaiza participating in many of them. In a single burglary, associates of the gang allegedly stole 600 lbs . of cannabis. In yet another incident, a number of co-conspirators allegedly stole tv sets from an eighteen-wheel truck in Montebello. And, in yet another theft outside a Fontana market, Palomares and yet another person dressed as a police officers robbed a person of $forty five,000 well worth of pseudoephedrine pills, which are the essential precursor chemical in the manufacture of methamphetamine.
The other three defendants named in the indictment are fugitives at this time. They are:

– Michelle Barajas, 38, of Paramount
– Armando Contreras-Lopez, 35, of Paramount and
– Oscar Loaiza, 35, of Montebello, who is a cousin of Palomares.

These three defendants are accused, along with the three regulation enforcement defendants, of conspiring to violate civil legal rights and conspiring to possess equally cannabis and cocaine with the intent to distribute the narcotics.
“The depth of corruption and audacity amongst these regulation enforcement officers is nothing at all a lot less than beautiful,” said United States Legal professional Debra Wong Yang. “Though getting a badge imparts some degree of energy to an officer of the regulation, it also imparts a excellent deal of duty. In addition to rejecting their tasks to the regulation, these officers turned down their sacred tasks to their communities and their departments.”
“These defendants, who ended up sworn to serve and defend the people today of Los Angeles, went from imposing the regulation to breaking the regulation,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Legal professional Normal for the Civil Legal rights Division.  “Though the extensive vast majority of regulation enforcement officers carry out their hard responsibilities in a experienced fashion, the Section of Justice will not be reluctant to prosecute these who cross that line.”
“This circumstance uncovered a dim world of corrupt regulation enforcement officers who defiled their badges and compromised the very good work of their colleagues,” said U.S. Legal professional Thomas P. O’Brien.  “The dwelling invasion robberies dedicated by these previous officers shocks the conscience and will lead to lengthy jail sentences that they so richly should have.”
“The actuality is, no police division is immune from poor cops,” stated Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton. “I have no tolerance for intentional misconduct and will deal with it forcefully and aggressively. Supervision, safeguards and civilian oversight are utilized to keep an eye on staff and ensure good quality police company. No very good cop desires to work with a poor cop. No very good cop desires a poor cop in their Section. Modern announcement proves we are dedicated to receiving rid of these who would tarnish the LAPD badge.”

Long Seaside Police Chief Anthony Batts stated: “When a police officer violates the laws that he has sworn to uphold, it erodes the community rely on that we in regulation enforcement work so tough to build. The men and gals of the Long Seaside Police Section take excellent delight in their work and are absolutely dedicated to the protection of our community. Reckless steps by persons that undermine the integrity of this division and harm the community rely on will not be tolerated.”
An indictment has allegations that a defendant has dedicated a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent right until and unless of course demonstrated guilty in court docket.

– Ruben Palomares, 36 of Diamond Bar, who was arrested on federal narcotics costs in 2001 and was terminated by the LAPD in 2003
– Gabriel Loaiza, thirty, of Montebello, who received regulation enforcement coaching and unsuccessfully used to be a non-sworn worker of the Long Seaside Police Section in 2000, was arrested with Palomares in 2001
– Jesse Moya, 29, of Whittier, who was a Los Angeles Police Officer right until late 2004
– Manuel Hernandez, twenty five, of Pico Rivera, who is a cousin of Palomares
– Alvin Moon, thirty, of San Gabriel, who also received regulation enforcement coaching and unsuccessfully used to the Los Angeles Police Section, was arrested along with Palomares and Gabriel Loaiza in 2001
– Manny Martinez-Godinez, twenty five
– Jessica Take care of, 31, of Whittier
– Steve Quintero, thirty, of Montebello, a custodial police officer with the Garden Grove Police Section
– Geronimo Sevilla, 32, of Whittier, who met Palomares though he was a LAPD explorer scout and who unsuccessfully used to the division in 2000
– Jesus Estrada Dominguez, 40
– Pablo Estrada, 29, of La Puente, a good friend of Gabriel Loaiza
– Juan Pablo Mendoza, 29, of Muscoy, who is a cousin of Palomares and
– David Barajas, 32, of Paramount, a longtime good friend of Palomares who is now in custody on unrelated narcotics costs.

“The FBI counts community corruption as its prime prison system priority, and this circumstance illustrates that commitment.  Investigators and detectives tirelessly pursued a smaller range of regulation enforcement officers who, in betrayal of their sworn responsibility to serve the community, utilized their badges and guns as instruments of terror and personal get,” said Salvador Hernandez, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles.  “The FBI, along with its regulation enforcement partners, will proceed to root out the smaller percentage of sworn personnel that act outside the regulation.”           
This circumstance was investigated by Distinctive Agent Phil Carson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the aid of Steve Sambar, Roger Mora and Mark Bigel of the Los Angeles and Long Seaside Police Departments.  This circumstance was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Legal professional Douglas M. Miller of Los Angeles and Section of Justice Demo Lawyers Jeffrey S. Blumberg and Joshua D. Mahan.

The Civil Legal rights Division is dedicated to the vigorous enforcement of the federal prison civil legal rights statutes, such as laws that prohibit willful acts of misconduct by regulation enforcement officials.  In Fiscal Year 2007, the Prison Section convicted the best range of defendants in its historical past, surpassing the report previously set in Fiscal Year 2006.

The Section of Justice has compiled a important report on prison civil legal rights regulation enforcement misconduct prosecutions in the past 7 years.  In the course of the past 7 years, the Prison Section obtained convictions of 53 p.c more defendants (391 v. 256) in colour of regulation scenarios than the preceding 7 years.
Relevant write-up: Los Angeles, Long Seaside And Other Police Officers Uncovered Guilty Of Residence Invasion Robberies & Trafficking In Prescription drugs
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