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Calif. Officer Allegedly Caught With Meth During Sting



A Bakersfield police officer is arrested on drug charges. Police say after getting a tip they set up a sting and caught an 11-year veteran of the force.

Police say it started with a tip from the public that one of their officers could be involved with drugs. By the time it was over police say they had busted a patrol officer for keeping drugs he found at a scene.

Bakersfield police say Officer Ofelio Lopez was booked on five charges Friday night. They say they caught him after setting up a sting operation.

They got a court order to take some methamphetamine out of their evidence room then put it in a purse and set the purse in a remote location.

"We had the dispatch center dispatch him to a found property call of the purse which contained the methamphetamine. He obtained that purse and placed it in the trunk of his car," Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson said.

But instead of turning the meth in as evidence at the end of his shift on Friday, police say Lopez kept it.

"Instead of coming to the police department after his shift he went directly home," Williamson said.

Lopez returned to work a DUI checkpoint Friday night. Then the watch commander called him back to the station where he was questioned and searched.

"A search of his person revealed one of the bindles of methamphetamine in his uniform pants pocket," Williamson said.

Police say Lopez was under the influence of meth at the time of his arrest. They also got search warrants for his patrol car and home. They say the purse with the meth was still in the trunk of his car but some of the meth was missing.

"The bindle that we found on his person had been opened and it appeared that some of the narcotics were missing," Williamson said.

Lopez was involved in a fatal shooting in 2005 and a crash with his patrol car in 2007. The shooting was later ruled justified. Police say they don?t know if drugs played a role in either incident.

"I?m glad we were able to catch him in what I hope were the early stages of this misconduct going on," Williamson said.

Lopez was charged for transporting the meth as well as possession while armed with a firearm and being under the influence of a controlled substance while armed. He's on paid leave until the internal investigation is complete.


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