Rudolph Petersen pleads guilty to all corruption charges leveled against him by the U. S. Department of Justice.
The events that led up to this moment entail a thick web of lies and deceit. You could even say the writers of the 'Power' series might learn a thing or two from the events surrounding this arrest.
The thirty-four-year-old defendant, Rudolph Petersen, was accused of accepting bribes from a drug trafficker to the tune of about $14,000 in cash. The drug trafficker got valuable information on suspected snitches, as Petersen routinely searched through the police database in exchange for the high sums of money. Petersen also escorted the trafficker's heavy shipment of illegal substances like weed, etc.
The federal prosecutor leading this case is the Assistant United States Attorney Ian V. Yanniello of the International Narcotics Money Laundering and Racketeering Section while The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.
Petersen served in the Montebello Police Department for more than three years.
During this time he was the inside guy for drug traffickers, he used his position as a police department worker to gain access to sensitive information which he sold to gang members and drug traffickers for large amounts of money. He let the bud guys in on information about plea deals and the individuals who were about to testify against the gangs. He more or less told the traffickers information he got to know of the police department that could jeopardize their trafficking operations.
Prosecutors claimed that this corrupt act had been going on since 2018. Petersen made at least $14,000 from serving these traffickers. He was their go-to guy whenever they needed to transport U-Hauls loaded full with a new supply of weed. Petersen also escorted their products when it was to be delivered. He put the lives of police informants and their families at risk by divulging their information to the drug traffickers.
According to the federal prosecutor's reports, a drug trafficker who was referred to as "co-schemer 2" in the reports approached officer Petersen in 2018. During a fixed dinner, he secured the services of Petersen. Petersen agreed to be placed on co-schemer 2's payroll without much cajoling. He was also given $500 through a middle man a few days later.
The reports went on to describe Petersen's first gig. This occurred three months after the dinner date. Petersen was seen armed and fully clothed in a security guard uniform. The uniform has a very close semblance to Montebello's official police uniform. With this guise, Petersen was able to chaperone a white U-Haul vehicle successfully. The vehicle is believed to have contained marijuana grown illegally in Fontana and it was moved to a location close to Rowland Heights, off Californian state Route 60.
After the successful operation, Petersen went to the home of Co-Schemer 2 and he was given a paper bag containing about $10,000 in cash.
The Plea Deal
Petersen pleaded guilty to all the charges leveled against him by the federal prosecutors. He also confessed that the white U-Haul truck was not the only shipment he escorted.
Petersen admitted that he used the law enforcement's database to get data on an individual.
According to his statement, Co-Schemer 2 tasked him with collecting information on a person he referred to as a 'snitch". It is believed that the "snitch" had previously worked with the police department to intercept and seize a truckload of a cocaine shipment. He says that for each database search, he was given a bribe charge of about $500 – $1,000. Not only did Petersen deliver information on the "snitch", at Co-Schemer's behest, he also divulged information on other individuals who were suspected to be working with the police department.
The federal prosecutors also alleged that another incident still occurred in September 2020. Petersen was paid at least $1,000 by Co-Schemer 2 to find out whether it was the state or federal law enforcement agencies that had successfully placed a tracking device on vehicles used by the gang members.
This has been scheduled to hold on January 11, 2022. The United States District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr will be in charge of the scheduled sentencing.
With all the charges he has pleaded guilty to, Petersen faces no less than 10 years in federal prison for all his crimes.
Other Bribe Allegations within California's Cannabis Industry
Central California's Cannabis industry seems riddled with different alleged bribes. Petersen is merely one of the few that got caught by the law.
There are other corrupt cops, government workers, and powerful public officials who routinely use their access to government information to divulge information to gang members and actors in the cannabis legal and illegal market industry.
The FBI investigated public officials in Sacramento, California in 2019. These individuals were suspected of collecting bribe charges from license applicants for favorable treatment in the selection process.
The case revolved around how a cannabis entrepreneur named Garib Karapetyan and his business partners were able to secure about eight cannabis business licenses when others couldn't secure one. Mr. Karapetyan held one-third of the available retailers licenses back in 2019, which he used to operate dispensaries within the city.
Further investigations revealed that a Ukrainian Businessman, Andrew Kukushkin who was also one of Karapetyan's associates was one of the four individuals who were arraigned by Federal prosecutors for their ties to an illegal scheme.
At a point during the investigation of this case, Rudy Guiliani, Lev Parnas, and Igor Fruman were indicted.
Rudy Giuliani is the attorney of the former President of the United States Donald Trump.
Corrupt individuals in government offices cannot be fished out at once. However, with a good strategy in place, the law enforcement agencies may be able to gradually fish these individuals out one after the other.
More stringent punishments should be added to dissuade others from trying to replace the caught corrupt cops and government officials.
BRIBES AND DIRTY DEEDS, READ MORE...