LOS ANGELES (CN) – Two former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were charged with planting guns at a medical marijuana dispensary to support the arrest of two men in 2011, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Julio Cesar Martinez, 39, and Anthony Manuel Paez, 32, were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and alter evidence. Martinez also was charged with perjury and filing a false report. They were booked and released last week, both on $50,000 bail, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office said.
Martinez and Paez claimed to have witnessed a drug deal involving a man with a firearm while on patrol on West 84th Place on Aug. 24, 2011, the district attorney said in the statement.
Martinez allegedly reported that he tailed one suspect into a medical marijuana dispensary and found a gun left close to a trash bin and another gun on a desk next to ecstasy pills.
One man was arrested for possession of an unregistered firearm and a second for possession of a controlled substance while armed, prosecutors said.
“However, when LASD [Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department]’s Internal Criminal Investigation Bureau launched an investigation a year later, they discovered a video recording taken inside the dispensary. Investigators said the video was inconsistent with statements made by the deputies in their reports,” the district attorney’s office said.
Charges against the two men arrested at the pot dispensary were dropped, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Jane Robison told the Los Angeles Times.
Martinez and Paez face more than seven years in state prison if convicted. Their arraignment is scheduled for June 17 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 30.
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