California police officers arrested for taking part in a car theft scheme a residential farming town of King City, CA. A handful of officers along with the acting police chief were arrested and charged with crimes including selling or giving away the impounded cars of poor Hispanic residents.
Investigators believe that the car theft scheme had been taking place for quite sometime, but many of the Hispanics that live in the community are unable to speak English and felt like there was nothing they could do about the police stealing their cars and taking their money.
Latinos account for nearly 90 percent of the community of 13,000 people tucked among fields of tomatoes, strawberries and lettuce along the Salinas River, 150 miles southeast of San Francisco.
Vivian Villa, a Spanish restaurant owner in the community said, “I’m not at all surprised by the arrests, I’m just surprised there weren’t more charges, now maybe some of them are going to feel what we feel when they target us.”
Tuesday’s arrests capped off a six-month long probe of the police department launched in September when a visiting investigator — there to check out a homicide — heard from numerous sources that the community didn’t trust its police department.
Investigators have arrested a total of six police officers, including the acting police chief that were involved in the car theft scheme. Tow shop owner Brian Miller; his brother, acting police chief Bruce Miller; and Sgt. Bobby Carillo were arrested on bribery charges after authorities said vehicles impounded from Hispanic immigrants were funneled to the tow yard then sold or given away.
Former police chief Dominic David Baldiviez and Mario Alonso Mottu Sr. were set to be arraigned March 6 for embezzlement of a city-owned Crown Victoria. Officer Jaime Andrade, accused of possession of an assault weapon and illegal storage of a firearm, and officer Mark Allen Baker, accused of making criminal threats, are also slated for a March 6 arraignment.
State Sen. Bill Monning, fears that this type of corruption is going on in farming town throughout the state of California. He said, “While I hope this is an isolated incident, I fear it is not,” he said. “There continues to be situations throughout the state where the immigrant workforce is subjugated to tyranny of those abusing their authority.”
Officials for King City realize this is going to be a big challenge to earn back the trust of its citizens and is going to leave a black eye on the town for quite sometime.
California Police Officers Arrested For Car Theft Scheme.