LOS ANGELES – A former Inglewood Police Department (IPD) officer has agreed to plead guilty to a federal narcotics offense of distributing cocaine, the Justice Department announced today.
In a plea agreement filed today in federal court, John Abel Baca, 47, of Whittier, who served as an IPD officer for 21 years, admitted that he distributed cocaine on two occasions, the first occurring on April 29, 2021, when he delivered cocaine to a witness cooperating with law enforcement. Baca then delivered approximately one kilogram of cocaine to the same cooperating witness (CW) during another meeting on May 4, 2021, in exchange for $22,000 in cash.
According to the plea agreement, in February 2021, the CW informed the FBI that Baca, then an active-duty IPD officer, previously had offered to sell the CW one kilogram of cocaine, two kilograms of “White China” heroin, and an unlimited supply of black tar heroin. The CW reported that Baca claimed to have stolen drugs and cash during routine traffic stops that Baca made as a drug task force officer with IPD.
During a covertly recorded meeting in late April 2021, Baca provided a sample of the cocaine to the CW to provide to purported buyers. Several days later, Baca negotiated the price for one kilogram of cocaine – $22,000 in cash – and then delivered a brick of cocaine to the CW’s workplace on May 4, 2021. Later the same day, Baca collected $22,000 in cash from the CW’s residence.
In the plea agreement, Baca admitted that he abused his position of trust as a police officer, including by stealing drugs from IPD’s lock-up and reselling them.
Baca agreed to plead guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine, a crime that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Baca, who currently free on a $1.1 million bond, is expected to formally plead guilty to the charge on October 17.
The FBI is conducting the investigation into this matter. The Inglewood Police Department provided its full cooperation during the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Cassie D. Palmer of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section is prosecuting this case.