Drug, Weapons Charges Filed Against Calif. Officer

Dec. 23, 2011
The Bakersfield officer was arrested on suspicion of multiple drug charges after police found methamphetamine in his pocket.

Five felony charges were filed against a Bakersfield police officer in Kern County Superior Court this week.

Ofelio Cesar Lopez Jr. was arrested Dec. 2 on suspicion of multiple drug charges after police found methamphetamine in Lopez's pocket.

Lopez is charged with transporting a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm, possession of a controlled substance, being under the influence of methamphetamine while in possession of a loaded firearm and possession of a dangerous weapon (brass knuckles), according to court records. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michael Yraceburn said the case was turned into the court Monday and charges were entered into the court system Wednesday afternoon.

Lopez's arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 3, according to court records.

Lopez is still on paid administrative leave from the Bakersfield Police Department, according to Sgt. Joe Grubbs. Grubbs said he had no way of knowing how long Lopez's leave will last.

Investigators from the police department set a sting operation for Lopez after receiving a tip from an informant that he or she had delivered meth to Lopez's home "on multiple occasions," according to a search warrant filed in Kern County Superior Court.

A purse containing meth released from the department's property room was planted in a remote city location on Dec. 2 and Lopez was sent to retrieve it.

Police said Lopez failed to check the bag and drugs into evidence when his shift ended and when he returned to work at a DUI checkpoint that evening. Police searched Lopez, his car and his home and found meth in Lopez's pocket, the purse and meth in the trunk of his police car, and brass knuckles at his home, according to police.

Lopez refused to submit to a chemical test but a drug recognition expert concluded that Lopez was under the influence of a stimulant, police said.

Lopez was arrested and booked into the downtown jail. He posted bail the next day. Lopez has been with the police department for 11 years.

Copyright 2011 - The Bakersfield Californian

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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