The Fresno Police Department is now dealing with one of its own officers being arrested and put in jail.
14-year veteran, Derik Kumagai, is accused of accepting a $20,000 bribe from a suspect.
The Department of Justice was two years into its investigation of a drug trafficking operation when Officer Kumagai suddenly appeared on their radar.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, we learned that last November, Kumagai and a co-conspirator named Saykham Somphoune allegedly took the money from a person trafficking marijuana. The men promised to sign the drug dealer up as a confidential informant for Fresno Police so he would no longer find himself on law enforcement’s radar.
The law states that police can pay a C.I. for their services, but it’s illegal for an officer to accept money from an informant.
A disappointed Chief Jerry Dyer explained why a case like this is so disturbing for him and the public.
"Our police officers are given an incredible amount of authority. They are given that authority because of the trust our citizens place in them. Anytime there are allegations such as these, it has a tendency to taint not only the law enforcement profession, but it erodes that confidence and trust members of our community have in our officers," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
It’s important to note that the other suspect in this case somphoune is not affiliated with a law enforcement agency. However, he and Kumagai face the same conspiracy and bribery charges which could send them in a federal prison for 25 years and cost them $750,000 in fines.
Kumagai has been with the Fresno Police Department since 2000. For the last 14 months, he was working for the vice unit, which is a team of undercover officers who deal in matters like prostitution, surveillance and sometimes drugs.
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