BAKERSFIELD — A Bakersfield police officer, recently depicted in a Hollywood movie, is on the other side of the law after being arrested last week for helping out a local drug dealer and filing false tax returns.
Damacio Diaz, 43, of McFarland, a detective with the Bakersfield Police Department who was portrayed in the 2015 movie ‘McFarland USA’, was booked on charges of bribery, drug trafficking, obstruction and filing false tax returns on Friday, November 20.
According to the Bakersfield Police Department, Detective Diaz, who has been on paid administrative leave from the department since this investigation was initiated, provided intelligence on law enforcement practices and activities to a known drug dealer, disclosed the names and identities of police informants, tipped the dealer off as to police investigations, and attempted to provide the dealer protection from search, seizure, arrest and prosecution, all in exchange for bribes from the dealer.
“While I am deeply disappointed by the indictment and arrest of officer Diaz, I am proud of the work and diligence agents and officers did in first bringing this case forward and seeing it through to completion,” said Bakersfield police Chief Greg Williamson.
Detectives from the BPD’s investigative and internal administrative division, along with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office, conducted the investigation, which stems as far back at April of 2012.
Investigators said that Diaz conspired with the narcotics dealer to distribute methamphetamine, and accepted over $5,000 in bribes in 2012, 2013 and 2014 in return. He also allegedly filed false tax returns for tax years 2012 and 2013.
Diaz faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for the conspiracy, 10 years in prison for each count of bribery, 20 years to life in prison for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, five years in prison for each count of intentional disclosure of wiretap information, and three years in prison for each count of making a false income tax return.