(UPDATE 9/21 4:30 p.m.) -- Noel Carter was arraigned Thursday afternoon and the U.S. Attorney's Office said he entered a plea of not guilty. He was released on home detention with electronic monitoring.
Noel Carter, of Bakersfield, was arrested today for conspiring with Bakersfield Police Department officers Damacio Diaz and Patrick Mara to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana that Diaz and Mara seized in the course of their duties as police officers, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
Carter is scheduled to be arraigned today in Fresno at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto.
On September 14, 2017, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Carter with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana, and two counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The indictment was initially sealed and was unsealed today. The indictment alleges that from April 2012 to August 2015, Carter conspired with Mara and Diaz who deliberately failed to submit the seized drugs into the BPD evidence room, and instead provided the stolen narcotics to Carter so Carter could sell those narcotics for profit. The indictment also alleges that Mara took marijuana and provided it to Carter to process so it was suitable for sale. Finally, the indictment alleges that Carter conspired with Mara to unlawfully manufacture, process, and sell marijuana for profit.
Earlier court records indicate that in May 2016, Damacio Diaz pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, as well as receiving bribes and making a false income tax return. In June 2016, Mara pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, methamphetamine. Diaz was removed from active duty with the Bakersfield Police Department in approximately February 2015, as was Mara in the summer of 2015. Diaz and Mara are currently serving federal prison sentences.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian K. Delaney and Angela Scott are prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Carter faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.