Ex-Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies plead not guilty to planting guns at marijuana dispensary

Pasadena Star-News | June 27, 2014

marijuana dispensaryLOS ANGELES — Two former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who allegedly planted guns inside a medical marijuana dispensary to justify an arrest pleaded not guilty today to conspiracy and other charges.

Julio Cesar Martinez, 39, and Anthony Manuel Paez, 32, are accused of planting the weapons inside the Los Angeles-area dispensary on West 84th Place in 2011.

According to prosecutors, the deputies noted in a report that they witnessed a drug transaction and saw a suspect with a firearm on Aug. 24, 2011. Martinez claimed he followed a suspect into the medical marijuana dispensary and found a gun near a trash bin and another one on top of a desk next to a stash of ecstasy pills, prosecutors said.

The deputies arrested one man on suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm and another man for allegedly possessing a controlled substance while armed with a firearm, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

An internal investigation launched a year later by the Sheriff’s Department found that video surveillance from inside the dispensary contradicted the deputies’ accounts of the arrests, prosecutors said.

Martinez, a 15-year department veteran, and Paez, who’s been on the force for seven years, were booked in April and released on $50,000 bail.

They are both charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice and peace officer altering evidence. Martinez is also charged with two felony counts of perjury by declaration and one felony count of filing a false report.

The two are due back in Los Angeles Superior Court July 28, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to require them to stand trial.

They are each facing more than seven years in prison if convicted, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Source article: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/government-and-politics/20140627/ex-los-angeles-county-sheriffs-deputies-plead-not-guilty-to-planting-guns-at-marijuana-dispensary

Photo credit: David McNew Getty Images

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