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Feds Arrest Fresno Cop|on Drug-Dealing Charges

FRESNO, Calif. (CN) - A deputy police chief has found himself on the wrong side of a cell after a year-long investigation ended Thursday with federal agents arresting him for an alleged conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, heroin and marijuana.

Keith Foster, 51, a 28-year veteran of the Fresno Police Department, was arrested with three other people, including his relative Denny Foster.

Surveillance by federal agents caught Foster on several occasions picking up oxycodone and delivering the drugs to Randy Flowers, 48, according to the criminal complaint.

The FBI conducted the surveillance, wiretapping and other components of the investigation jointly with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In the complaint, ATF agent Sherri Reynolds describes communication between both Fosters regarding marijuana distribution.

In December Foster asked Denny Foster if he can "pick up some units for his boy," and Denny Foster responded that he could only if Foster distributed money into his bank account, the complaint says.

Two weeks later, federal agents intercepted a phone call between the relatives clarifying that Denny Foster had shipped a half-pound of marijuana to New Mexico and that Foster deposited $1,150 into a Wells Fargo bank account.

The complaint details Denny Foster's criminal past, including a 2005 conviction in Oregon for the intent to distribute cocaine and a January arrest in Merced County for possession of marijuana for sale.

Flowers' criminal history includes a conviction for possession of cocaine base in Fresno County in 1988 and a 2010 conviction in Oregon for delivering a controlled substance.

Thursday's complaint marks the second time in a month that the Fresno police department faces questions about misconduct within its ranks.

In February two Fresno business owners filed a federal lawsuit against 10 Fresno police officers whom they said seized $100,000 during an investigation into an allegedly illegal gambling ring.

One of the former officers named in the suit, Derik Kumagai, 41, pleaded guilty last month to a federal charge of taking a $20,000 bribe from a suspected drug dealer.

Fresno noted that Foster has been put on paid administrative leave following his arrest Thursday, pending an internal investigation by his department.

Police Chief Jerry Dryer noted in a statement that "this is a very sad day for the Fresno Police Department, the citizens of Fresno, the law enforcement profession, and for me personally."

"Our department will continue to serve in a professional manner and to do all we can to maintain the trust and confidence of this community," Dryer added.

Also named in the complaint and arrested were Rafael Guzman, 41, and Jennifer Donebedian, 35. They are scheduled to appear in federal court today.

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