former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy pleads guilty to conspiracy

A corrupt Sheriff’s agent admitted that he protected shipments of narcotics, had “a connection” that could supply him with up to 2,000 pounds of marijuana a month, did dirty jobs in exchange for money and once confiscated $160,000 in cash without notifying his department.

In federal court in Los Angeles, Kenneth Collins, a Sheriff’s agent in this county, pleaded guilty to being part of a gang that escorted drug shipments charging up to $ 250,000. Now faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison that could reach life in prison, reported the federal prosecutor.

Collins, 50, was arrested in mid-January in Pasadena, as part of an operation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Sheriff’s Officer and two accomplices arrived at an unspecified site to provide “security” for the transport of nearly 45 pounds of cocaine and more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine. According to the indictment, said merchandise was going to Las Vegas, Nevada.

The other defendants are David Easter, 52 years old and inhabitant of Los Angeles; and Grant Valencia, 34 and neighbor of Pomona. The start of his trials is scheduled for October 23.

In his plea agreement filed in federal court, Collins, who left the Sheriff’s ranks last February, agreed that he and his team agreed to provide protection to the narcotics shipment that went to Las Vegas, taking different measures to prevent the Police from I will intercept it.

An undercover agent of the FBI who posed as a millionaire investor’s relative hired him in August 2017 to take care of the drug in exchange for a payment of $250,000. In justifying his high charge, Collins would have told him: “we are policemen” and “all our cargoes pass”.

In the first meeting they talked about supposedly financing a house to grow marijuana. Then, the suspect offered to provide security to the narco and claimed to have three “teams” that had already monitored similar operations in the counties of San Bernardino and Los Angeles.

During a taped meeting with the undercover agent, Collins showed his Sheriff’s plaque and raised his shirt to uncover a gun and confirm that he was a law enforcement officer, which made his services more valuable to a narcotics trafficking organization .

At the end of that meeting he received a “good faith” payment of $5,000 for future services.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s agent also offered to “fix problems,” even physically assaulting people, in exchange for money. Collins claimed to have a very “professional” team made up of “policemen” who carried firearms. He also said that he and his accomplices “handled” a situation for a “client” in Boston by setting fire to a luxury truck.

That revelation put the FBI on alert and in September the undercover agent told Collins he was having a “problem” with someone in Northern California. After that talk, this gave him the address and driver’s license number of that person in exchange for $ 2,000. In addition, he said that the work could go further: “we can definitely impact it a bit.” He meant hurting her.

The authorities have not yet identified the other officers involved in this case, but it has been mentioned that they were Collins’ associates in the Sheriff’s office who turned him in with the FBI. The Los Angeles Sheriff said he collaborated extensively in this investigation and assured that it could be an isolated case.

In October 2017, Collins sold two pounds of marijuana to the undercover officer for $ 6,000 as “proof” that he could buy more marijuana in the future.

A month later, the defendant allegedly provided security for what he and his group thought was contraband of six kilos of methamphetamine, as well as marijuana and counterfeit cigarettes. For a payment of $ 25,000 in cash, they escorted the alleged merchandise in a caravan that traveled from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

Collins also offered to facilitate the monthly sale of up to $4 million of marijuana and claimed to have “a connection” through which he could obtain up to 2,000 pounds of the herb each month. The authorities have not revealed more details in this regard.

This man met one of his accomplices, Grant Valencia, in a class called ‘Academy of Emerging Leaders’, in which Collins was the instructor. The objective was for Angels to teach and advise ex-convict adults, such as Valencia, so that they could reinsert themselves into society.

“Agent Collins not only broke the law, he trampled on his oath by agreeing to sell his badge to help drug dealers,” said US Attorney Nick Hanna.

Collins also admitted that while in service in May 2014 he made a traffic stop to illegally confiscate $ 160,000 in cash. Prosecutors allege that Collins knew that the sum was hidden in the car and that he never reported such confiscation to his superiors.

The sentence of this former Sheriff is scheduled for next November 19.

Ava Russel

Ava Russel is a reporter for Herald Keepers.  After graduating from UCLA, Ava got an internship at a local radio station and worked as a beat reporter and producer.  Ava has also worked as a columnist for the Times of San Diego. Ava covers economy and community events for Herald Keepers.

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