FRESNO, Calif. - A federal jury found former Fresno Police Deputy Chier Keith Foster guilty on two drug trafficking charges on Tuesday. The two charges he was found guilty of were conspiracy to distribute heroin and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. The twelve jurors deadlocked on six counts that involved oxycodone.
Foster's defense attorney Marshall Hodgkins said, "I'll just tell you, the whole thing's a tragedy. We got the results of the other split. It was 7 to 5 not guilty on all the other counts. So we're disappointed. This is not over with yet."
The jury began deliberations on Friday, and met for nearly five hours on Tuesday. They had to decide if Foster was guilty of conspiring to sell oxycodone, heroin, and marijuana, all while he was second in command of the Fresno Police Department.
The jury came to a unanimous vote on the heroin and marijuana counts: guilty. But, they deadlocked on six of the other counts that involved the oxycodone.
"I look at 7 to 5 not guilty on all the other counts, and it's unfortunate. But, that is our system. I asked for a fair shot, and we were able to put on the case we wanted to put on," stated Hodgkins.
U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said in a statement, "When a police officer misuses his official position to commit crimes for personal profit, it is the ultimate betrayal of public trust. The betrayal is only compounded when the officer involved is in a leadership position in the police department. By conspiring with others to traffic heroin and marijuana, Keith Foster not only disgraced the office he held, he put the community he was sworn to protect in danger. Although the jury was not able to reach verdicts on the additional counts relating to Foster's alleged involvement in trafficking oxycodone, we are grateful for their hard work and the guilty verdicts they returned. My office is committed to rooting out corruption and prosecuting those who use their official position to commit crimes that endanger the community. We are proud to have worked alongside the ATF and FBI, with the full cooperation of the Fresno Police Department, in bringing Foster to justice."
Foster is expected to be sentenced in October. The U.S. Attorney's Office said the heroin count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a one-million dollar fine. The marijuana count carries a max of five years with a $250,000 dollar fine. But Hodgkins hopes the judge will remember the good Foster has done in the community.
He said, "It is my hope as far as sentencing is concerned, that as the judge indicated at the end, that his life long work for law enforcement in the community will have some type of impact here."
Hodgkins tells us Foster was offered a plea deal of four years in prison, but had turned it down before the trial.
Legal analyst Charles Magill calls this case a display of a fall from grace.
"From basically the top of the food chain, assistant Chief, soon-to-be chief, to convicted felon. What a dramatic fall that is for an individual to accept," ended Magill.
Foster is expected back in court in July for the court to figure out what to do on the the six counts that the jury deadlocked on. The U.S Attorney's Office could re-try the case on those six counts.