Four years ago on a sweltering afternoon, 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.
“He told me to take my wife out on a date or buy my kids something,” Diaz would later recall in court papers. “It is a day I truly regret and a decision that has changed my entire life.”
That decision also rocked the Kern County criminal justice system, marking the beginning of an ugly police corruption scandal involving cash, drugs and protection. Diaz and his partner, Patrick Mara, later admitted to ripping off drug dealers of their methamphetamine during traffic stops. Diaz then began cooperating with federal investigators and named other cops he said were corrupt.
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