Former Santa Clara County sheriff guilty on all counts in civil corruption trial
A Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputy who’s accused of taking thousands of dollars in tips from drug dealers received a more-than-a-year prison sentence on Wednesday for corruption and illegal gun possession.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said he handed down the sentence — 10 months in jail — in a case he characterized as “a tragedy all the way around.”
The sentence was for two counts of bribery, three counts of false imprisonment and two counts of receiving bribes.
The judge said he also handed down a six-month prison sentence for the deputy, who’s accused of taking more than $50,000 in cash from drug dealers.
The deputy, who has been working for the Santa Clara County sheriff’s office for 12 years, was convicted of three felonies.
He was found guilty of accepting more than $50,000 in cash from drug dealers during a period when he was supposed to be patrolling the beach, and was in possession of two loaded guns.
In addition to a prison sentence, the judge also ordered the deputy to pay $35,000 in restitution to the sheriff’s office and a $1,000 fine.
The judge did not make any explicit reference to the gun charge, which was referred to the district attorney’s office for prosecution.
In addition to the charges against the deputy, the judge convicted him of other criminal counts — drug dealing was a felony, and illegal possession of a stolen firearm was a felony.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3.
The three-day trial featured dozens of witnesses, including a former girlfriend, an undercover police officer and a drug dealer.
The deputy, who was assigned to the sheriff’s office’s Narcotics Detail, testified in court that he met at least two drug dealers and got $50,000 in cash from them over a three-year period.
The drug dealer, who didn’t testify in court, said he paid the deputy to protect him because he feared his dealer would kill him. The dealer said the deputy also took at least $9,500 that the dealer owed him.
In exchange, the deputy says the dealer gave him a cellphone number so he could contact the dealer in an emergency.
Santa Clara County Sheriff’