The trial of two "bad cops" involved in a string of incidents involving stolen drugs, stolen goods, warrantless searches, and other poor behavior began this week in federal court. Sgt. Ian Furminger, 48, and Officer Edmond Robles, 47, are being painted by prosecutors as two-thirds of a trio of corrupt undercover officers who went around to SROs in the Mission and Tenderloin stealing "drugs and money from their own confidential informants as well as from crime scenes, and sometimes [paying] off informants with those drugs," as the Examiner reports.
The third member of this group, former officer Reynaldo Vargas, recently pleaded guilty to charges against him, and he was fired from the department earlier for falsifying time cards.
Vargas was part of an illegal search, complete with police brutality, on December 30, 2010 that was caught on surveillance video and widely publicized.
All three were part of a federal indictment that came down in February that also implicates three other active officers Officer Arshad Razzak, 41, Officer Richard Yick, 37, and Officer Raul Eric Elias, 44 who will be tried separately in early 2015.
In the current trial, defense attorneys for Furminger and Robles are trying to paint Vargas as the sole bad apple and ringleader, and trying to discredit his testimony as "bought and paid for" by the prosecution. But there seems to be little doubt in the prosecution's mind that the three worked as a team, and in their biggest haul, split a pile of $30,000 in cash that they found busting a heroin trafficker's home in Newark.
Taking the witness stand in the coming weeks will be Vargas himself, as well as a parade of drug addicts, informants, and dealers who had contact with the officers back in 2010 and 2011.
Needless to say, this should get ugly, and tabloid-sensationalism-worthy.