A Bakersfield man who conspired with two police officers to sell methamphetamine and marijuana has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.
The drugs were seized by Bakersfield police officers Damacio Diaz and Patrick Mara before being given to Noel Carter, 45, so he could sell them, according to federal prosecutors. The officers deliberately failed to submit the seized meth and weed into the Bakersfield Police Department evidence room so they could be sold for a profit, authorities said.
Both officers have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme, which went on from April 2012 until August 2015, according to court filings.
Diaz pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in May 2016, admitting to receiving bribes and making a false income tax return, prosecutors said. Mara, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in June 2016.
“Both were removed from active duty with the Bakersfield Police Department and are currently serving federal prison sentences,” prosecutors said in a news release.
Two former members of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Logan August and Derrick Penney, also got swept up in the scandal — admitting to working with Mara in his weed-dealing efforts and entering guilty pleas in the case in May 2017, CNN reported.
August stole marijuana from raids on at least 10 different occasions in 2014, giving his informant 25 pounds of the drug in exchange for about $15,000, authorities said. Penney, for his part, stored some of the stolen weed at his home.
In addition to prison time, Carter must also serve five years of supervised release and was ordered to forfeit $286,251 in drug-dealing revenue, prosecutors said.
He must also pay $70,513 in restitution to his former employer, Pacific Workplaces, for embezzling money from the company while he was working as a contract manager, authorities said. He worked there from September 2016 until October 2018, when he was fired.
Carter agreed to a plea agreement in October 2018 requiring him to pay the restitution to Pacific Workplaces, which manages virtual and short-term office rentals.
The case was investigated by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS and Bakersfield Police Department.