Deputy Chief Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and Marijuana

JRW FOSTER 1

Keith Foster, who swore to uphold the law as a deputy chief of the Fresno Police Department but ended up tarnishing his badge to commit crimes, was found guilty of federal drug-trafficking charges.

Foster, 53, kept his lips shut tight while looking despondently at his supporters when the verdict was announced in U.S. District Court in Fresno. Family members openly cried in the court.

The jury found Foster guilty of conspiring to distribute heroin and marijuana, two charges against him. The jury hung on six other charges.

Judge Anthony Ishii allowed Foster to remain free on his own recognizance, saying Foster is not a flight risk because of his lifelong ties and police service to the community. Ishii also said Foster is not a danger to the public since the alleged crimes did not involve violence or weapons.

The jury deadlocked on six charges, including five counts involving the distribution of oxycodone. The sixth deadlock charge accused Foster of using a cellphone in furtherance of drug trafficking.

E. Marshall Hodgkins, Foster’s lawyer, said the jury was 7-5 for not guilty on each deadlocked charge. Because the jury deadlocked, prosecutors can retry Foster on the six charges.

“It’s unfortunate, but that’s our system,” Hodgkins said of the verdict. “We tried the case we wanted.”

By conspiring with others to traffic heroin and marijuana, Keith Foster not only disgraced the office he held, he put the community he was sworn to protect in danger.

Ishii ordered both sides to return to court on July 10 for a hearing on whether to retry Foster. He is scheduled to be sentenced on the two guilty charges on Oct 10. Foster now faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the heroin conviction, and up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the marijuana conviction.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office thanked the jury for its work but did not say whether prosecutors would seek to retry Foster on the deadlocked charges.

U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert added: “When a police officer misuses his official position to commit crimes for personal profit, it is the ultimate betrayal of public trust. The betrayal is only compounded when the officer involved is in a leadership position in the police department. By conspiring with others to traffic heroin and marijuana, Keith Foster not only disgraced the office he held, he put the community he was sworn to protect in danger.”




Police spokesman Lt. Mark Hudson said Chief Jerry Dyer was withholding comment on the verdict, but might have something to say Wednesday. “The chief has to digest it all,” Hudson said.

It’s unfortunate, but that’s our system. We tried the case we wanted.

The verdict was a tragic ending to nearly 30 years of service in the Fresno Police Department in which Foster became a role model to the city’s west side community and was Dyer’s apparent heir.

Hodgkins called the result “a tragedy.” He said Foster was offered a plea deal of four years in prison during the trial, but turned it down. He hopes Foster’s “lifelong work in public service will have some impact on the sentencing.”

The case against Foster was built on wiretaps and surveillance of him by agents with the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In the wiretaps Foster can be heard talking about buying drugs.

To convict Foster, defense lawyer lawyer Hodgkins said the jury would have to conclude that Foster “went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde” and threw away nearly three decades of stellar police work.
Related stories from The Fresno Bee
Fresno’s former No. 2 cop was ‘deep undercover’ when he talked of buying pot, attorney says
Jury hears Fresno’s former No. 2 cop talking about pot buy and drugs on wiretaps
Keith Foster upends defense, denying his lawyer’s claim he was undercover when busted for drugs
Keith Foster was ‘upset’ at his portrayal as a drug ‘kingpin’ while deputy police chief

A criminal complaint charged Foster with trafficking in marijuana with his nephew Denny Foster, selling oxycodone to his other nephew, Randy Flowers, and trafficking heroin with Rafael Guzman Jr. Six co-defendants – including his two nephews – accepted plea deals, leaving Foster to stand trial alone.

During the two-week trial, prosecutors Melanie Alsworth and Duce Rice told a jury of eight women and four men that Foster dealt drugs because he needed money to pay bills from his expensive divorce. Deep in debt, Foster had to borrow money from a subordinate, Rice told the jury.

And when his nephew Denny Foster got caught with six pounds of marijuana, Keith Foster is heard on the wiretaps saying if he had known that his nephew was on the road, he could have provided cover for him. “That’s corruption,” Rice told the jury.

Foster and Hodgkins, however, contended Foster was collecting information about drug dealing so he could turn it over to narcotics detectives.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on the two guilty charges on Oct 10. Foster now faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the heroin conviction, and up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the marijuana conviction.

Full more information please follow the link below:

http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/crime/article152201757.html
Source: fresnobee.com

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5628 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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