Patrick Mara, 36, of Bakersfield, a former detective with the Bakersfield Police Department (BPD), pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, Acting United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, between June 14, 2012, and October 2013, Mara was assigned to the Southern Tri-County Task Force of the Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). He abused his position of trust and authority by conspiring with his partner, Damacio Diaz, to seize narcotics in the course of their official duties and intentionally fail to submit the seized narcotics to the BPD evidence room. Instead, on multiple occasions, Mara and Diaz retained possession of seized narcotics for their own unlawful personal gain, purpose and sale. Mara admits that he and Diaz unlawfully seized and maintained possession of approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine.
According to the plea agreement, Mara will forfeit $80,000 obtained from this criminal conduct. On May 31, 2016, Damacio Diaz pleaded guilty to related charges.
“Mara took advantage of the trust placed in law enforcement officers for his personal gain. In so doing, he undermined the public trust and he betrayed the honest, hard-working officers who risk their lives daily to protect our community. Moreover, he put those officers — and the public — in danger. Misconduct by police officers will not be tolerated, which has been the message expressed by BPD Chief Greg Williamson from the inception of this investigation,” Acting U.S. Attorney Talbert said. “I would like to personally thank Chief Williamson and his Department for their invaluable assistance with this investigation. Chief Williamson devoted resources to work hand-in-hand with the FBI, the DEA and our Office throughout this investigation in a sincere effort to root out corruption.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Talbert went on to say: “While our investigation is continuing and it is premature to say more at this time, I can say that the allegation recently made to the media that there is widespread corruption within BPD is one that our investigation has not substantiated.”
“Patrick Mara took an oath to serve and protect the public, yet he chose to participate in criminal conduct to serve his own interests for profit. This type of behavior from a law enforcement officer is unacceptable. Those who commit such crimes are not worthy to wear the badge and serve their communities,” stated DEA Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin. “DEA will continue to work with our law enforcement counterparts to weed out officers who abuse their position.”
Assistant Bakersfield Police Chief Lyle Martin stated: “The Bakersfield Police Department is dedicated to building and maintaining community trust by holding its employees accountable for their actions. We will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners through the conclusion of this investigation.”
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 United States Attorneys Brian K. Delaney and Angela Scott are prosecuting the case.
Mara is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on DATE. Mara faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The actual sentence, however, will 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.