Former Bakersfield Police Det. Damacio Diaz and Det. Patrick Mara.
|In 2012 Bakersfield Police Det. Damacio Diaz was sitting in his car alongside informant Guillermo “Memo” Magallanes. About $15,000 stuck out of Magallanes’ shorts. When the informant left, the narcotics detective found just under $1,000 in the passenger-side door pocket.|
That marked the beginning of a police corruption scandal involving cash, drugs and protection. Diaz and his partner, Patrick Mara, later admitted to ripping off drug dealers of their methamphetamine. That ended when Magallanes was arrested and snitched. Diaz later began cooperating with federal investigators and named other cops he said were corrupt. None of those allegations resulted in federal charges against any other officers.
|Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said the two detectives were specially selected for a joint drug task force in a region plagued by methamphetamine. "They became the drug traffickers themselves," he said.|
A federal judge sentenced Diaz and Mara to five-year federal prison terms for seizing and selling more than 20 pounds of crystal meth and redistributing it back into the community they were sworn to protect. The sentence was 15 fewer years than what federal prosecutors recommended.
|Prosecutors are re-examining cases from 2011 to 2014, when the partners were committing crimes. They reviewed 87 cases of the detectives involving 123 defendants. Two misdemeanor prostitution cases in which Diaz was an undercover detective have already been dismissed.|
"If they took statements, seized evidence or wrote reports, we will be sending letters to defense attorneys or defendants that represented themselves"