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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

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    Release No. 08-054

    May 5, 2008


    Former Long Beach Police Officer Joseph Ferguson was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison for his role in a series of home-invasion robberies over a two-year period.

    In January, a jury convicted Joseph Ferguson, 33, of conspiring to violate civil rights, conspiring to possess narcotics with intent to distribute, and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.

    The defendant’s brother and co-defendant, former Los Angeles Police Officer William Ferguson, was also convicted of deprivation of rights under color of law and several firearms offenses. William Ferguson is scheduled to be sentenced on May 19.

    The leader of the robbery ring, former Los Angeles Police Officer Ruben Palomares, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12.

    The evidence at the Fergusons’ trial showed that they were members of a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy that was led by Palomares and included other law enforcement officers and drug dealers. Together, they committed more than 40 burglaries and robberies throughout the Los Angeles area between early 1999 and June of 2001.

    The robberies generally were committed after the group received information that a particular location was involved in illegal drug-trafficking. The robbery teams usually consisted of multiple sworn police officers in uniform or displaying a badge. They would gain access to the residence by falsely telling any occupants that they were conducting a legitimate search for drugs or drug dealers. Victims often were restrained, threatened or assaulted during the search. These assaults included firing a stun gun at a victim, striking victims with police batons and putting a gun in the mouth of a victim. When the group stole drugs, they would use co-conspirators to sell the drugs and they would split the profits among the group.

    In all, 17 defendants, including law enforcement officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, the Long Beach Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Department of Corrections have been convicted of federal crimes in connection with the conspiracy.

    This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Long Beach Police Department.


    Release No. 08-054
    Return to the 2008 Press Release Index