Former California cop pleads guilty to bribery

Image Credit: FCCED

Accused of accepting at least
$14,000 in bribes from a gang member to escort drug shipments, a former
California police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to one count
of bribery.

In mid-2018, Montebello Police
Officer Rudolph Petersen had dinner with a gang member and drug dealer who
offered to put the cop on his payroll and paid him $500 through an
intermediary. In December 2018, Officer Petersen met the gang member again and
agreed to escort a vehicle shipping narcotics in exchange for $10,000
in cash.

Three months later, Petersen wore a
security guard uniform while carrying a firearm when he successfully escorted a
white U-Haul truck suspected of containing illegally grown marijuana from
Fontana to Rowland Heights. In addition to receiving $10,000 in cash from the
gang member, Petersen later admitted to escorting at least one additional drug
shipment for the gang member.

After the gang member told Petersen
that a recent cocaine shipment had been busted by the cops, Petersen agreed to
access the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS),
which provides access to FBI databases, in order to investigate a suspected
snitch. Petersen went on to receive $500 to $1,000 for each database search of
the gang member’s subsequent suspected snitches.

On September 16, 2020, Petersen
received $1,000 to investigate whether tracking devices found on the gang
member’s van and another drug dealer’s vehicle belonged to a state or federal
law enforcement agency.

In July 2021, Petersen agreed to
plead guilty to one count of bribery and admitted to accepting at least $14,000
in bribes from the unidentified gang member in his offered plea deal. On
Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that prosecutors have accepted the
plea agreement.

U.S. District Judge Stanley
Blumenfeld Jr. has scheduled a January 11, 2022 sentencing hearing, at which
time Petersen will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10
in federal prison.


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