A member of the famed McFarland High School cross-country team that won the state championship and was later depicted in the Disney film “McFarland, USA,” pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of bribery and drug possession arising from his career as a Bakersfield police detective.
His former police partner also announced Tuesday that he had accepted a plea deal in connection with the alleged crimes.
Damacio Diaz — one of the three Diaz brothers depicted in the 2015 Disney film about the victorious Central Valley team — admitted to lying on his tax returns and accepting bribes from an informant in exchange for information about police during a three-year period starting in 2012, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento.
Diaz also admitted to stealing nine pounds of methamphetamine during a Sept. 20, 2012 traffic stop, prosecutors said.
Diaz and his partner were assigned to oversee the investigation into two men from Yakima, Wash., who had 10 pounds of methamphetamine, but Diaz entered into evidence only one pound of methamphetamine. The two officers sold the rest of the illegal substance and pocketed the money, authorities said.
When it came time to file his tax returns for 2012, Diaz omitted additional income of nearly $98,000, according to his plea agreement.
“The defendant attempted to take advantage of the trust placed in law enforcement officers for his personal gain,” said Phillip A. Talbert, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California. “Law enforcement officers who accept bribes put the public and other law enforcement officers in danger.”
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Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.