Former deputies plead guilty as part of widening BPD corruption scandal

Court documents obtained by Eyewitness News on May 3, 2017, reveal a conspiracy involving two former Kern County sheriff's deputies and former Bakersfield, Calif., police detective Patrick Mara. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Two former Kern County deputies have admitted their involvement in a corruption scandal involving a former Bakersfield police detective.

Derrick Penney and Logan August are each scheduled to plead guilty May 15 at the federal courthouse in downtown Fresno to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana.

The maximum sentence for the crime is five years in federal prison and a fine, but prosecutors will recommend a lesser sentence as part of the deal. Judge Lawrence O'Neill is not bound to follow the recommendation, but he did give lighter sentences to Damacio Diaz and Patrick Mara last year. Diaz and Mara, each former Bakersfield Police detectives, faced similar charges, though with higher maximums.

Court documents obtained Wednesday say that 10 times in 2014 August stole marijuana seized during sheriff raids. He gave the marijuana to a former confidential informant to sell and then received a $15,000 cut of the sales.

Between June 2014 and October 2014, Penney conspired with August, his informant, former Bakersfield police detective Patrick Mara and others to steal and sell marijuana that they took from a locked evidence storage facility. Penney profited $1,200, according to his signed statement of facts.

Public records obtained through Transparent California indicate that the two deputies each earned at or near $200,000 in pay and benefits during the year of their crimes.

August left the department August 7, 2015 and Penney left the department March 4, 2016. The circumstances of their departures weren't clear Thursday. They each joined the department in 2007.

August is being represented by Bakersfield attorney David Torres. Penney has retained Fresno-based Anthony Capozzi.

Torres said Thursday his client is remorseful and plans to make a public apology.

"He feels really terrible about having besmirched the uniform," he said.

Capozzi was unable to be reached Thursday for comment.

Mara was sentenced last year to five years in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Diaz was also sentenced to five years in federal prison for crimes ranging from taking bribes to stealing and selling confiscated methamphetamine.

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