Two former Visalia narcotics detectives were briefly behind bars last month after the pair were accused of falsifying police reports and obtaining fraudulent search warrants in at least 16 incidents.
At a “short notice” press conference held by Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward and Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar November 16, Ward announced officers Bryan Ferreira and Shane Logan were arrested after turning themselves in. The pair of veteran officers will face dozens of counts stemming from a series of incidents beginning in August of 2017 and continuing until March of this year.
Ferreira and Logan are currently free on bail.
Because the officers face impending prosecution, little has yet been revealed about the actions that lead to the charges against Ferreira and Logan.
“I cannot tell you any of the facts,” said Assistant District Attorney Dave Alavezos in a followup interview.
A long list of charges against the pair of officers has been made public, and in it the two are accused of perjury and altering at least 16 police reports in order to obtain search warrants, as well as separate charges of felony criminal conspiracy. The pair is also accused of signing vouchers in order to make clandestine narcotics buys that apparently never occurred. Officials have not revealed where the money for those buys went.
“While I understand the desire for specific facts in the case, I can only tell you the language in the complaint reflects conduct alleging search warrants were obtained based on controlled narcotics buys that did not occur, and that the defendants wrote false police reports, which were submitted as well,” Ward said during the November 16 press conference.
So far, charges in dozens of cases investigated by the pair have been dropped.
“We have dismissed in excess of 40 cases so far,” said Alavezos. “At this point, that’s probably where I should stop (providing details).”
“Most of those investigations were narcotics-related,” Ward said in his official statement.
Ward also announced the DA’s Conviction Review Unit will continue to look at pending and completed cases involving Ferreira and Logan’s work. Defendants who were investigated by the pair, as well as their attorneys, are encouraged to contact the DA’s office for a review of their case. A review application is now available at da-tulareco.org.
“We’re going to continue to look at cases as they come through,” Alavezos said.
In his official statement, Ward expressed similar sentiment.
“We anticipate that number (of dismissed cases) to increase as our Conviction Review Unit will now begin to review recently closed cases that these defendants were associated with,” he said. “Any case which is identified and evaluated, and the conviction is called into question, will be handled appropriately.”
Day in Court
Forty-three different counts are listed in the complaint.
In the “walk-thru” warrant provided by Ward’s office, Ferreira is accused of leading the conspiracy and faces 38 felony charges; Logan faces 22 felony charges.
The felony charges against the men include filing false police reports to obtain warrants–a form of perjury by declaration–and criminal conspiracy. Ferreira faces an additional five misdemeanor charges for alleged illegal access of Department of Motor Vehicle records, and for disclosing the information he obtained.
In California, perjury by an officer of the law carries a maximum sentence of three years per offense; non-officers can serve up to four years for the same crime. The addition of criminal conspiracy convictions in California can double jail time. The DMV misdemeanor violations carry minimum fines of $1,000 per instance.
While the list of charges against Ferreira and Logan is extensive, it does not reveal the full nature of their alleged crimes or their motivations. Those details will likely be revealed during prosecution of the pair, which begin with procedural hearings on December 12.
“My understanding is that it is going to be a little complicated on that date,” Alavezos said.
‘Two Reckless Officers’
During the press conference, Ward described Ferreira and Logan as “two reckless officers” who had created a “tough time” for the VPD.
Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar, who also address the media at the November 16 conference, described officers’ alleged misdeeds as “disturbing” and “insulting to the honor and integrity that is associated with the badges that we wear.” The alleged criminal action was, Salazar said, “entirely unacceptable and extremely disappointing.”
Salazar promised an internal investigation into how Ferreira and Logan were able to long conceal their alleged crimes while continuing to work in the midst of hundreds of law enforcement officers.
“While the criminal investigation has come to a close, the judicial process has only just begun, and administrative investigation will ensue,” he said.
City Hall also sought to distance itself from the accused officers’ actions in a statement it released during the November 16 press conference. In part, the statement read:
The alleged conduct of a couple of police officers is not reflective of the tremendous work the men and women of the Department provide to the citizens of this community on a daily basis. The City has the highest confidence in Chief of Police Jason Salazar and the men and women of our police department.