Detective whose story is featured in McFarland USA arrested

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BPD detective Diaz, portrayed in McFarland USA movie arrested on bribery, drug trafficking charges.

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A California police detective who was a member of the championship 1987 track team depicted in the movie McFarland USA has been arrested on suspicion of assisting a drug trafficker, disclosing secret wiretap information and taking bribes, federal authorities announced Friday in Bakersfield. BAKERSFIELD, CA—Damacio Diaz, 43, of McFarland, a detective with the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD) was arrested today, charged with abusing his position of trust as a police detective when he conspired with and assisted a narcotics dealer in the operation of the dealer’s drug organization, announced United States Attorney Benjamin B Wagner, FBI Special Agent in Charge Monica M Miller, DEA Special Agent in Charge John J Martin, IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon, and Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson. Bakersfield Police Detective Damacio Diaz is charged in a 16 count indictment that also includes the possession and distribution of methamphetamine and filing false tax returns. The 16-count federal indictment against Damacio Diaz, 43, was unsealed Thursday and Diaz was arrested at Bakersfield police headquarters Friday morning. The indictment states Diaz provided the drug dealer with intelligence on law enforcement practices and activities, disclosed the names and identities of police informants and tipped the dealer off to police investigations, including information on a wiretap investigation.

Magallanes was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine in United States District Court on September 17, 2015.” As part of the conspiracy, federal investigators say, Diaz would disclose the name of criminal informants so Magallanes would not conduct drug business with these informants and become a target of law enforcement. “All I can say regarding this issue is that Diaz is on administrative leave with pay, but not under investigation by us,” Sgt. The film, released in January to wide critical acclaim, centers on the brothers’ daily lives and features McFarland’s first cross-country team and coach Jim White who helped inspire them to a 1987 state championship. He was there to attend the world premiere of Disney’s “McFarland USA,” which chronicled the 1987 McFarland High School cross-country team, on which Diaz and two of his brothers competed. In the 1980s, running was a privilege, a luxury granted only after the kids worked seven hours before and after school picking fruit to help support the family. Actions like those alleged in the indictment shatter that promise and threaten the safety of fellow officers and the communities we are sworn to protect.

Wagner said during a press conference Friday that they began looking into Diaz’s activities as a result of information received from unrelated drug investigations earlier this year. Detectives from the department’s investigative and internal administrative divisions have worked side by side with the FBI and the United States Attorney’s office during the entirety of this investigation. The chief said Diaz and the drug trafficker, Guillermo Magallanes, had known each other ”for quite some time“ as Magallanes had been working as a BPD informant. According to the indictment, Magallanes paid Diaz to tip him off to law enforcement investigations and in general to protect him from arrest and prosecution. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

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