Two Former LA Sheriff Deputies Charged With Planting Guns At Marijuana Dispensary

180px-Patch_of_the_Los_Angeles_County_Sheriff's_Department123px-Badge_of_the_Sheriff_of_Los_Angeles_County,_CaliforniaTwo former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have been charged with planting guns at a medical marijuana dispensary when they were on the force in 2011. Julio Cesar Martinez, 39, and Anthony Manuel Paez, 32, were charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice and altering evidence as a peace officer. The charges could result in seven year stints. The two officers allegedly turned off the electricity and a security camera system inside the dispensary as they planted guns later cited as the basis for the arrests.

The officers wrote a report that they spotted a drug deal involving a person with a gun. They said that the followed the suspect, Antonio Rhodes, into the dispensary and found two guns: one near a trash bin and another on a desk next to some ecstasy pills. They arrested two individuals, Rhodes and Johnny Yang, who were charged with possession of an unregistered gun and the second for possession of a controlled substance while armed with a gun. However, a video from inside the dispensary was later found to be “inconsistent” with their accounts — a rather mild way to put it in a gun planting case.

Martinez was a 15-year veteran of the Department and Paez was an 7-year veteran. Prosecutors say that Paez crawled under a desk to shut off a video surveillance system before planting two handguns on top of a desk and withdrawing one from a drawer and placing it on a chair. Martinez allegedly shut off the electricity.

Notably, Yang entered a plea of no contest and was sentenced April 27, 2012, to a year in jail. Consider what would have happened if this video did not exist. Once again, cases of this kind show the value of videotape evidence. We have been following the continuing abuse of citizens who are detained or arrested for filming police in public. (For prior columns, click here and here). Despite consistent rulings upholding the right of citizens to film police in public, these abuses continue. The video contradiction of the police account is all too familiar on this blog. Of course, in Dallas, Dallas Police Chief David Brown revealed a new policy that would require officers involved in a shooting to wait 72 hours before making a statement. The policy came after a scandal where a surveillance video showed one of Brown’s officers shooting a mentally ill suspect for no apparent reason. The video contradicted the officer’s testimony and undermined the charge against the victim. Brown’s solution was not greater disciplining and monitoring of officers but to impose a delay to allow officers to craft their statements. I would have thought that such a proposal would have resulted in the termination of Brown but he continues to run a major police department.

Presumably, Yang will now consider a civil lawsuit as well as Rhodes.

We seem to have a fair number of controversies generated by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department or the Los Angeles Police Department lately. Notably, when officers were recently found to have disabled cameras on police cars, the Chief of Police decided not to pursue the officers for criminal charges or termination.

Source: LA Times

70 thoughts on “Two Former LA Sheriff Deputies Charged With Planting Guns At Marijuana Dispensary”

  1. Feynman,

    Sounds like I’d like a special prosecutor to sort out a “Costco sized can o’ worms.” It’s gotta be worse than absconding with a file from the Watergate. Wouldn’t you agree that hiding behind the 5th, at that level, should be looked into? Where’s your legal objectivity and curiosity? You see no smoke from that fire?

  2. Why is it we do not video tape courtrooms? Don’t kid yourself into thinking this kind of abuse stops at the law enforcement agency.

  3. Paul,

    I’m sorry. I don’t understand your note @ 3:14. Are you referring to my explanation about being unable to see new notes while typing a reply? Or are you responding to my note about presidential choices?

  4. I want Obama as President. Come 2016, I want ANY Democrat over the likely Republican field. And, yes, I would vote for Joe.

  5. Paul,

    I see what happened. You sent the stats at 1:50 while I was typing my 1:52 note. You misunderstood my remark that you didn’t send any rates. I was referring to your original simple statement – Chicago has the highest rate.

    As you know, or at least on my system, I can’t see new postings while I am typing a reply.

  6. Paul,

    If it is clear that he is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, why is Rep. Issa being so shy? Michelle? Peter King? every Rep from Texas? Lovable Louie, for instance?

    No Paul. It is not so clear. But it is a very useful propaganda weapon. Gets lots of people to put on funny hats and carry oddly spelled signs.

    It is my opinion, that your present position is a backpedal. And if you feel it is clear, it is probably your duty to your country to insist that justice be done. Don’t make the same mistakes the Democrats did with regard to Cheney. I’m not so sure that Bush should have been impeached. The president has a lot of power regarding waging war.

    1. The crickets was in response to your not reading the material I sent and then telling me I had not sent it.

  7. Paul

    Your source was not bad. A quick skim of a longish piece shows that it is complicated. He seems like a smart guy but there are some weeds right off the bat. I THINK he may have been using 2012 population figures which are critical when calculating RATE. Rate is different than highest number and you both stated rate. There’s a lot of discussion that follows on the other cities.

    My source is wiki. Not 100% reliable but in this case they look a little bit less seat of the pants. And surely their chart is a much easier read than yours. Wiki says the Chicago 2012 rate was 18.5. Your source concurs. I’d need more time to dig out what you source is saying with all that text. Perhaps you would care to help?

    1. Dear Keebler Elf – Obama stands in line with any and all war criminals.

  8. If you read mine it includes the stats. See nothing, crickets, for your end.

  9. Obama is clearly guilty of impeachable offenses – high crimes and misdemeanors, but I do not think it is going to happen. That is not back-pedaling at all.

  10. Paul,

    You and Mr. Spinelli were able to quickly state that Chicago was number one. I don’t think you included any rates.

    Don’t go changing the rules.

    Wait for Mr. Spinelli to get back to us. He’s awfully quiet. Probably some calculations are going on.

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