Former Bakersfield Police Detective Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy
FRESNO, Calif. — Patrick Mara, 36, of Bakersfield, formerly a detective with the Bakersfield Police Department, was sentenced today to five years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for a conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine, Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, between June 14, 2012, and October 29, 2013, while employed as a police detective with the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD), Mara conspired with his partner Damacio Diaz, 44, of McFarland, to use their positions as police officers to seize narcotics and marijuana during the course of their work and sell the stolen drugs to a third party for profit. The third party, an acquaintance of Mara’s, further distributed the drugs into the community. In his plea agreement, Mara admitted that he and Diaz stole approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine that should have been booked into evidence.
According to court documents, during the investigation, Mara agreed to meet with the FBI on three occasions. When asked a series of questions pertaining to the corruption allegations surrounding Diaz, Mara denied knowledge of any illegal activity, gave vague responses, or stated that he did not recall many details.
Acting U.S. Attorney Talbert stated: “When Mara used his position as a police officer to steal methamphetamine and marijuana, he caused drugs to remain in the community and drug traffickers to go unprosecuted. He endangered the community he pledged to serve and betrayed the honest, hard-working members of the police force. I want to thank the FBI, the DEA, the IRS-Criminal Investigation, and, in particular, the Bakersfield Police Department for their incredible work in this investigation. The Bakersfield Police Department worked side by side with our office, providing unfettered access to its records and dedicating two of its most accomplished detectives to the investigation.”
Bakersfield Chief of Police Williams stated: “Today’s sentencing of Patrick Mara marks a long awaited end to this lengthy investigation. His deliberate betrayal is in no way reflective of any employees within the Bakersfield Police Department. We are committed to providing quality and selfless service to our community while continuing to strengthen the relationships we have built.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin said: “Patrick Mara’s criminal behavior while wearing the badge compromised the integrity of the position, endangered the public and the safety of his colleagues. We may never fully comprehend why someone sworn to ‘protect and serve’ would commit these crimes, but we know honest law enforcement professionals head out each day to make our communities safer places to live, work and raise our children.”
“The American people have given police officers awesome authority,” said Monica M. Miller, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Sacramento Field Office. “Men and women in law enforcement use that authority to keep us safe. Patrick Mara and his corrupt colleagues betrayed the trust of the citizens they served. They disgraced the profession of law enforcement and added to the burden of their colleagues who daily put their lives on the line with absolute integrity. The FBI and our partners will remain ever vigilant to identify and root out corruption, because honest public service is at the foundation of the law enforcement profession and our nation.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Brian K. Delaney and Angela Scott prosecuted the case.
On October 3, 2016, Judge O’Neill sentenced Diaz to five years in prison and ordered him to begin serving his sentence on December 5, 2016. Diaz had pleaded guilty to bribery, possession and attempted possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and making and subscribing a false income tax return. The case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Bakersfield Police Department.