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Thursday, February 27, 2014

San Francisco Police Officers Indicted; Accused of Running Drug Ring

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 12:35 PM

click to enlarge Alleged illegal hotel search caught on video...
  • Alleged illegal hotel search caught on video...

Accuser tells SF Weekly SFPD officers forced him to buy, sell drugs 


Two San Francisco Police officers and a former officer were on Feb. 25 indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for allegedly running a drug ring out of the Mission Police Station -- forcing informants into drug-dealing as well. 

Three other officers were indicted for conspiring to "injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate occupants of single room occupancy hotel rooms by entering hotel rooms without legal justification." 

Sergeant Ian Furminger, Officer Edmond Robles, and Reynaldo Vargas -- referred to as "The Mission Station Defendants within the indictment" -- are accused of conspiring to distribute marijuana; stealing money, gift cards, and electronics while executing search warrants and arrests; and impressing informants into selling marijuana on their behalf. 

You can read that indictment below.

One alleged victim purportedly forced into selling drugs tells SF Weekly he -- and many of the others who testified before the grand jury -- are in discussion with legal counsel and will shortly be filing a civil suit. 

That alleged victim also claims that more indictments may be coming.  

"It was petty bullshit," continued that accuser. "They stole $100 from me and a cell phone. They forced me to sell drugs. They were using convicted felons with prior records so no one would believe them." 


That purported victim described abuse of confidential informants of the sort detailed last year in an SF Weekly cover story. In this man's case, he claims he was made to buy hard drugs by officers who falsified reports to obscure that this was a planned transaction

"You've really got to thank Jeff Adachi for posting those YouTube videos," he said. 

Adachi, San Francisco's Public Defender, in 2011 posted surveillance videos from the Henry Hotel on the Internet, capturing officers in what he called "illegal searches." That triggered a federal investigation and today's indictments, as well as "three tentative settlements" in civil court, per attorney John Burris. 

In that case, "Southern Station Defendants" Officers Arshad Razzak, Richard Yick, and Raul Eric Elias are accused of illegally barging into single-room occupancy hotel rooms; falsely documenting their rationale for entering; and falsely testifying about the matter.




Update, 1 p.m.: Police Chief Greg Suhr released a statement regarding the indictments. It deftly noted that "Of the many concerns my administration inherited from past administrations," this one was the biggest. (Emphasis ours) 

The officers have been suspended without pay and, if found guilty, Suhr says he will seek "immediate termination" (if found guilty, all could be facing hefty jail terms). 

Suhr notes that "federal authorities have represented that they found no evidence that the
conduct of these few officers, as alleged, is an indicator of a larger 'systemic concern'
within the SFPD." Even still, he claims policies he put in place will "safeguard against even the suggestion of anything like this happening again."  


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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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