Los Angeles Sheriffs sponsored Emerging Leader graduate indicted by Department of Justice in FBI Sting Operation involving former instructor and Sheriff.

LA Times reported:

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with operating a large-scale drug trafficking scheme in which he boasted that he hired other law enforcement officers to provide security to dealers and could assault people for his clients, according to court records.
Deputy Kenneth Collins and three other men were arrested by FBI agents Tuesday morning in a
sting operation when they arrived to what they thought was a drug deal, according to records
unsealed after the arrest.
Court documents outlining the case show that Collins, 50, has been under investigation for months. He was recorded by agents discussing “his extensive drug trafficking network, past criminal conduct, and willingness to accept bribes to use his law enforcement status for criminal purposes,” according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
“I fix problems,” Collins was recorded saying to an undercover agent, court records show. “I
make a lot of things go away.”
U.S. Atty. Nicola T. Hanna said in a statement that “Deputy Collins sold his badge to assist an
individual he thought was a drug trafficker. The deputy allegedly used his status as a law
enforcement officer as a guarantee when he promised safe travels for large quantities of illegal
Thom Mrozek, a U.S. attorney’s office spokesman, said that the investigation is continuing but
that no other law enforcement officers had been implicated so far.
Last year, an undercover agent met with Collins while posing as the relative of a wealthy
investor looking to finance an illegal marijuana grow house. The deputy offered to provide
security and said he had three teams already working in the region, including one that was
protecting an illegal marijuana grow house disguised as an auto repair shop, according to the
At another meeting to discuss the security plan for the grow house, Collins showed off his
sheriff’s badge and lifted his shirt to show a gun in his waistband, the complaint said.
He later said that he could provide teams of security made up of cops who “travel … with guns”
and boasted that he and two comrades were hired by a client to set ablaze an $85,000 Cadillac
truck in order to intimidate someone, federal authorities alleged.
Collins sold about 2 pounds of marijuana to the agent for $6,000 as a “test run” to demonstrate
his ability to arrange and carry out deals, federal authorities allege. The deputy said he had
connections to marijuana operations in Northern California and could sell the agent $4 million of
marijuana each month, according to the court records.
His contacts were “the best growers you can find in the north,” Collins is alleged to have boasted to the agent.
Undercover agents then hired Collins to provide security while they drove several pounds of
methamphetamine and other contraband from Pasadena to Las Vegas, the court records said.
When one of the agents initially balked at the price, Collins explained that his services were
worth it:
“We’re cops,” Collins said, according to the complaint. “We deal with a lot of, you know, kind
of high-end clients, and $25,000, they’re like, you know, it’s like as long as you can make sure
my shipment gets from here to there, that’s fine. … They make profits in upwards of $5 million
on certain, certain transports.” On the drive to Las Vegas, one of the other men charged in the
case, David Easter, drove a lookout car while another, Grant Valencia, rode with the undercover
agent in the vehicle with the drugs, according to court records. Collins rode in a third car keeping watch from behind.
The methamphetamine the agents were carrying on the trip was not real.
In the complaint, agents said that Collins, Easter and Valencia had agreed to provide security for
a large drug transaction Tuesday at the Rosemont Pavilion, an events venue in Pasadena.
In exchange for as much as $250,000, Collins and his team were planning to help oversee the
transport of a large cache of drugs and cash, agents alleged in court records. At first, the agent
and Collins agreed to a $75,000 payment to oversee the shipment of 20 kilograms of cocaine, 6
kilograms of methamphetamine and cash, but Collins later suggested that they increase the
amount of drugs to fill “a moving truck” and upped the price tag for the job, according to an
undercover informant cited in the complaint.
Collins said he had a team of six men, including three other law enforcement officers, who could
ensure the cargo made it to its destination “untouched, unscathed,” the document says.
After a meeting Dec. 11 to plan the transport that was set for Tuesday, Collins called another
L.A. County sheriff’s deputy to discuss the deal, according to the complaint. The other deputy is
not named.
Like Collins, Easter, 51, and Valencia, 34, each face a charge of conspiracy to distribute a
controlled substance. Federal authorities did not publicly detail the allegations against the fourth man who was arrested, Maurice Desi Font, 56.
The Sheriff’s Department issued a statement saying the agency notified federal authorities about
the criminal allegations against Collins several months ago and had been cooperating with the
FBI. Collins, a 15-year-department veteran most recently assigned to provide security at county
buildings, was placed on leave and would be suspended without pay during the criminal case, the
statement said.
In court Thursday afternoon, Collins was denied bail despite his attorney’s argument that he
posed no risk to the community and that his wife and mother-in-law would put up $115,000 as
assurance he would not flee. Except for a drunk driving conviction in 1999, the attorney said,
Collins had no criminal past.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Lindsay Greer Dotson rebuffed the idea of bail, repeatedly calling Collins
“the mastermind” of the alleged drug operation and saying the deputy had indicated in
conversations with agents that he had family in Cuba and had recently traveled to the country.
Wearing a plaid shirt, Collins remained expressionless throughout the proceedings and answered
the judge’s questions in a monotone voice.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Steve Kim set Easter’s bail at $110,000. The other defendants did not seek
Collins has served as an instructor in a life-skills course for former inmates, according to a 2014 article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
The Emerging Leaders Academy, run by a retired sheriff’s sergeant, features deputies who act as
mentors for people with criminal pasts who want to improve their literacy and career skills in
order to stay out of prison.
Valencia also is featured in the Tribune article. He is described as an ex-offender who attended
the program at the time Collins was teaching.
Collins was quoted in the article as saying he grew up poor before joining the military and later
the Sheriff’s Department. He said the cognitive behavior program he went through to be able to
teach forced him to change his perception of himself from that of a hardcore deputy who busted
down doors and chased guns and dope slingers.
“I was so used to putting my foot on their neck,” he was quoted as saying. “This was kind of
foreign to me. It goes against what we do — our profession.”
A call to the academy was not answered Tuesday morning.
Link: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sheriff-deputy-drug-conspiracy-20180116-


On January 16 th , 2018 Grant Valencia was arrested by the FBI. The Department of Justice charged & Indicted him with Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances. Valencia was facing a 20-years to life sentence because of his prior Federal conviction. Getting nowhere with his court appointed panel attorney, he dropped him and retained Darren M. Richie.


Valencia’s charges were reduced; he later plead guilty to his conduct of Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana. Having been sentenced to time served and 3 years of supervised terms, Valencia was released and ready for his now bright future. As of August 29, 2018, he has been home and reunited with his 2-year-old Son and family.

  support@dre.law   Feb 14, 2019     Comments Off on Los Angeles Sheriffs sponsored Emerging Leader graduate indicted by Department of Justice in FBI Sting Operation involving former instructor and Sheriff. Read More

250K a week Heroin Ring Operated like a Pizza Delivery Service

NBC News reports:

In raids across multiple counties, the DEA on Wednesday took down a “heroin distribution machine” they say earned $250,000 a week packaging and selling the drug.The group the feds said was extremely sophisticated and structured like a pizza delivery business worked in plain sight and operated out of the San Fernando Valley. It supplied locals from Santa Barbara to Riverside counties.They packaged high-quality heroin and cocaine in colorful and white fluffy balls.At one spot, agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration seized drugs, $15,000 in cash and a car with a trap door for sneaking drugs. Sixteen people have been charged in the case.”The volume was enormous,” said Will Torrence, the DEA’s resident agent in charge of the Ventura office. “Their dispatch and call centers received hundreds of requests every day for the delivery of heroin and cocaine.”The NBC4 I-Team got exclusive access as federal search warrants and indictments were carried out.The accused ringleader of the operation, known as “Manny’s Delivery Business,” was taken into custody.

Authorities hope the arrests permanently shut down the organization. The monthslong investigation coincides with the rising number of addictions, overdoses and deaths nationwide from heroin and opioids. Some 175 overdose deaths a day are recorded, a number the White House cited when the president called the drug crisis a public health emergency in October. The group maintained a fleet of about 20 vehicles, compact cars, most with hidden compartments.They dispatched calls out of a building, complete with drivers getting paid salaries, working shifts and getting holidays off.Behind a facade, investigators say, was the largest street-level drug operation they have seen in the Valley.Agents continue to seek information on the whereabouts of several more individuals. Anyone with information is asked to call the Ventura DEA office at 805-383-6464.

Link: https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/250000-a-Week-Heroin-Ring-Operated-Like-Pizza-Delivery-Service-464029863.html
Violation: Defendant in a Federal conspiracy indictment to distribute controlled substances. In raids across multiple counties, the DEA took down a “heroin distribution machine” they say earned $250,000 a week packaging and selling the drug.
Results: The defendant was a flight risk, an undocumented resident and unlikely to receive bond. In this instance our Client was held before the 9th District Court Judge for a proceeding on Bond. He was allowed to bond out because of the representation of Darren M. Richie. Under ordinary circumstances this unheard-of opportunity would be nearly impossible, but our client received bond against presumption of bond. The defendants was sentenced to 27 Months & a term of supervised release of 4 years.

  support@dre.law   Feb 11, 2019     Comments Off on 250K a week Heroin Ring Operated like a Pizza Delivery Service Read More

Traffic stop in Gardena California led to 25lbs of Meth Bust

Violation: Defendant in traffic stop by Gardena Police Department led to an arrest and indictment which he was facing years in prison for the controlled substance he possessed when stopped.
Results: The defendant sentenced to time served and 3 years’ probation.

  support@dre.law   Feb 11, 2019     Comments Off on Traffic stop in Gardena California led to 25lbs of Meth Bust Read More

Female defendant violated probation for ADW and a new charge of Petty Theft

Violation:  Female was facing 4 years in prison after violating probation. Additionally, she faced new charges for Petty Theft in Burbank Court which would have certainly landed her in prison due to being on active probation.
Results: After unsuccessful results with her court appointed attorney, she retained Richie Litigation. Her charges were later reduced to 365 days with 213 days credit for time served and was only in custody for a total of 152 days. Probation was successfully revoked. She will be released by summer 2019 and reunited with her 9-year-old daughter to restart their new life. Her 2 counts of petty theft in the Burbank Court were dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office due to the advocacy provided by Attorney Michelle Ferguson.

  support@dre.law   Feb 11, 2019     Comments Off on Female defendant violated probation for ADW and a new charge of Petty Theft Read More

Gun Possession at Burbank Airport

Violation: Client brings loaded, unregistered gun with a bullet in the chamber through TSA at Burbank airport. Weapons violation charge PC 25850(A) attempting to bring a gun through airport security.
Result: Case was dismissed.

  support@dre.law   Feb 11, 2019     Comments Off on Gun Possession at Burbank Airport Read More

Felony Bomb Threats

Violation:This client was facing two counts of felony bomb threats.
Results: Having Richie Litigation representing them resulted in the felony being reduced to a misdemeanor of Disturbing the Peace. He was sentenced to a term of 2 years, summary probation, and 20 days community service.

  support@dre.law   Feb 11, 2019     Comments Off on Felony Bomb Threats Read More

DUI Charge Worsened by Bodycam Footage

Violation: DUI charge. Client was filmed by a body cam expressing how drunk he was.
Result: His charges were reduced to reckless driving and he was sentenced to a term of 36 months summary probation with a 3 months DUI Program and a MADD class.

  support@dre.law   Feb 11, 2019     Comments Off on DUI Charge Worsened by Bodycam Footage Read More

Violation Of Domestic Violence Order

Violation: Defendant charged with misdemeanor violation of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
Results: Defendant sentenced to violation of a court order (Contempt of Court)

  support@dre.law   Feb 11, 2019     Comments Off on Violation Of Domestic Violence Order Read More

Four UCLA Employees Sue School, Alleging Workplace Sexual Harassment

Four UCLA employees have filed lawsuits against UCLA and the UC Board of Regents, accusing their workplace supervisor of sexual harassment and the University of failing to properly handle abuse complaints.
Plaintiffs Jackie Rodriguez, Amber Rose Palega, Krystal Eda and Mayra Miguel allege supervisor Martha Mansoor, who is also named in the suit, regularly slapped their buttocks, caressed their thighs and made sexual comments about their bodies.
The plaintiffs work in the university’s radiology scheduling department.
The harassment allegedly started in early 2016 and ended in 2017, according to the lawsuits, which were filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Mansoor was terminated by the school in July 2017 after the women filed complaints earlier that year, the lawsuits state.
One of the women informed another supervisor in December 2016 about the harassment, but Mansoor remained in her job, said attorney Darren Richie, who is representing all four women.
The plaintiffs “feel like their complaints were pushed under the rug” by the school, Richie said, in part because the allegations involved “female-on-female” harassment.
UCLA issued a statement Sunday, saying “these allegations are inconsistent with the standards of conduct expected of UCLA staff, faculty and students and we take them very seriously.” The school encouraged members of the campus community to come forward with any concerns they might have about the workplace environment.
“We are closely reviewing the details of the lawsuit and intend to respond appropriately,” the statement said.
The Times was unable to reach Mansoor.
Richie said the women faced retaliation from other supervisors after they filed complaints against Mansoor. The retaliatory behavior included making the women do more work and not allowing them to take time off to see their attorney, Richie said.
The lawsuits also allege that the school’s process for filing a claim is confusing and ineffective. Even though four women made reports about harassment, the school listed only one of the women as a complainant, while the other three were named as witnesses, Richie said.
The women are suing for harassment; failure to prevent harassment, discrimination and retaliation; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Richie said the four plaintiffs are seeking more than $120 million in damages.
5:15 p.m. Sunday: This article was updated with a statement issued by UCLA.
This article was originally published Saturday at 5:05 p.m.

  support@dre.law   Sep 07, 2018   Blog, Los Angeles Trial Attorneys   Comments Off on Four UCLA Employees Sue School, Alleging Workplace Sexual Harassment Read More