A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted two police officers and a former police officer who were assigned to the Mission Station with “conspiracies to distribute controlled substances, against civil rights, and to commit theft concerning federally-funded programs,” according to a press release issued Thursday from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
One officer was also charged with extortion.
At the same time, a federal grand jury indicted three police officers, formerly assigned to the Southern Station “with conspiracy against civil rights and deprivation of rights under color of law.” Two of the officers were also charged with falsifying records.
In a separate statement, the San Francisco Police Department said that all of the officers had been suspended without pay, effective immediately “and will remain so until this matter has been adjudicated.”
The Mission Station defendants include Sergeant Ian Furminger, 47, of Pleasant Hill, Officer Edmond Robles, 46, of Danville and Reynaldo Vargas, 45, of Palm Desert, California.
The defendants were issued a federal summons and will make their initial appearances tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. before the U.S. Court Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte in federal court in San Francisco.
Defendant Vargas will appear before Judge Laporte at 2 p.m. today.
The Mission defendants allegedly “engaged in multiple criminal conspiracies, namely, to distribute controlled substances; to steal money and other valuable items, such as computers, electronic devices, and gift cards, from suspects; and to steal money, drugs and other valuable items that were seized on behalf of the City of San Francisco. Defendant Furminger is also alleged to have extorted property from an individual.”
Earlier in 2011, Vargas was one of the officers caught in a surveillance tape of officers entering the Julian Hotel in the Mission District.
The charges against them carry penalties of up to 20 years in jail. The press release said:
The federal investigation began shortly after San Francisco District Attorney George Gascõn referred the matter to federal authorities citing a conflict of interest.
In March 2011, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi had released hotel surveillance videos from a hotel in the Tenderloin neighborhood of several SFPD plainclothes officers entering hotel rooms that, according to Mr. Adachi, were inconsistent with police reports and sworn police testimony.
Mr. Gascõn was the SFPD Chief of Police at the time of the police officers’ conduct. Federal authorities, in partnership with SFPD Internal Affairs Criminal Division, launched investigations into select SFPD officers’ conduct in the Mission and Southern Districts culminating in two separate indictments.
The defendants from the Southern Station include Officer Arshad Razzak, 41, of San Francisco; Officer Richard Yick, 37, of San Francisco; and Officer Raul Eric Elias, 44, of San Mateo.
The southern defendants allegedly “conspired to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate occupants of single room occupancy hotel rooms by entering hotel rooms without legal justification. Defendants Razzak and Yick are also alleged to have falsified a payment slip to an informant, and each of them is also separately alleged to have falsified police reports to conceal their unlawful activities.”
The charges carry penalties from 10 to 20 years in jail.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Special Prosecutions and National Security Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office.