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Former Detective Sentenced for Bribery, Drug Trafficking, and False Tax Return

Damacio Diaz, 44, of McFarland, a former detective with the Bakersfield Police Department, was sentenced on Monday to five years for bribery, possession and attempted possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and making and filing a false income tax return.

Diaz was ordered to begin serving his sentence on December 5, 2016. Diaz pleaded guilty to the charges on May 31, 2016. Diaz’s former partner, Patrick Mara, 36, of Bakersfield pleaded guilty to related charges on June 20, 2016, and is scheduled to be sentenced on October 17, 2016.

According to court documents, between April 2012 and February 2015, while employed as a police officer with the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD), Diaz handled a criminal informant who was involved in the large-sale and distribution of methamphetamine. Diaz continued to operate the information even though he was fully aware of the informant’s ongoing criminal activity. During this time, Diaz received bribes from the informant in return for intelligence on law enforcement activities as well as protection from investigation and arrest.

In addition to accepting illegal bribes, Diaz also engaged in drug trafficking while in the BPD. On September 20, 2012, while on duty, Diaz stopped a vehicle operated by two individuals from Yakima, Washington and used a BPD dog handler and police dog to search the vehicles. The search uncovered an ice chest containing approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine divided into multiple bags. The BPD dog handler did not seize any of the drugs from the vehicle, but turned the scene over to Diaz and Mara to secure the methamphetamine and oversee the investigation of the incident. A week later, Diaz booked approximately one pound of methamphetamine from the vehicle stop into evidence. Diaz and Mara maintained possession of the remaining nine pounds of methamphetamine, and they ultimately sold it for their own personal gain.

According to the plea agreement, Diaz also filed a joint income tax return for the calendar year 2012 that falsely reported total income of $168,485 and did not include additional income of at least $97,900.