Two veteran Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were arrested and charged this week for allegedly lying about a 2011 drug bust, according to the district attorney’s office.
The DA’s office filed felony charges Wednesday against Robert G. Lindsey, 31, and Charles G. Rodriguez, 38, for filing a false police report about a 2011 arrest outside the now-defunct Durango Bar in Huntington Park, according to a news release from the office.
Both deputies turned themselves into the sheriff's Criminal Investigations Bureau on Thursday and have been suspended without pay, Steve Whitmore of the sheriff’s department said.
“They were field deputies operating out of the Century Station and, until this case, they each had an exemplary service record,” Whitmore said.
The investigation into the police reports began when the attorney for the accused drug suspect in the 2011 arrest obtained surveillance footage that contradicted the account of events given by the deputies, said Jean Guccione, spokeswoman for the DA’s office.
According to the alleged false report, Lindsey, who has served for eight years, said he and his partner were contacted by an unidentified informant who told them “a man named Abraham” was selling cocaine out of Lexus SUV outside the Durango Bar.
Lindsey wrote in the report that he and Rodriguez, a 12-year-veteran, saw Abraham Rueda and another man, Cesar Ochoa, near a Lexus SUV on June 3, 2011, prosecutors said.
Lindsey allegedly wrote in the police report that while he talked to Rueda on the driver’s side of the vehicle, he “saw a plastic baggie containing a white powder resembling cocaine in the air vent under the car stereo."
The surveillance footage, however, allegedly showed the men at the rear of the SUV, where they would not be able to see the car stereo, prosecutors said.
The report stated that a tow truck hauled away the SUV. But investigators determined that Lindsey drove away in the Lexus and Rodriguez left in the patrol car, prosecutors said, adding that the deputies turned in a small amount of cocaine.
The two deputies detained Rueda for a drug investigation, but prosecutors dismissed his case after reviewing the video, Guccione said.
Investigators will be looking back at other arrests made by the deputies to see if any other potential misconduct occurred, Whitmore said.
If convicted, Lindsey and Rodriguez will face a maximum sentence of three years in county jail, according to the release.
The two men are scheduled to be arraigned on May 13.