Ex-CHP Officer Gets 5 Years in Cocaine Theft

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A former California Highway Patrol officer who admitted stealing 64 kilograms of cocaine from an evidence locker at the CHP's Santa Ana office was sentenced Tuesday to five years and eight months in prison.

Joshua Wendall Blackburn, 33, of Murrieta, admitted the stole the drugs worth at least $1 million on Dec. 21 and was sentenced by Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Borris.

With good behavior, he would be eligible for parole in about three years, accoding to Farrah Emami of Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Blackburn, who had worked for the CHP for about six years when he was fired, pleaded guilty to single felony counts of possession of cocaine for sale, transportation of cocaine and commercial burglary with a sentencing enhancement for possession of more than 40 kilograms of cocaine, Emami said.

Blackburn had faced up to 25 years in prison, but he accepted a deal in exchange for his guilty plea. Prosecutors had wanted Blackburn to be sentenced to 12 years in prison, Emami said.

Blackburn, who has four children and was separated from his wife when arrested, made no statement at Tuesday's sentencing, Emami said.

Defense attorney John Barnett could not be reached for immediate comment.

The district attorney's office headed the investigation after the theft was discovered, Emami said. Under questioning, Blackburn admitted to the crime and told investigators where they could find the drugs, she said.

The cocaine had been seized from two suspects whose cases are pending, Emami said.

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