A District Attorney’s office investigation into two former Kern County sheriff’s deputies who pleaded guilty to federal charges last year revealed they stole an additional 350 pounds of marijuana than was originally believed, prosecutors said Tuesday.
That new information — as well as other previously unknown alleged crimes — resulted in prosecutors filing multiple felony charges against Logan August and Derrick Penney despite their convictions in federal court for conspiring to sell pot, District Attorney Lisa Green said.
She said she couldn’t go into details regarding the new alleged crimes as the case is ongoing.
Among the new allegations are more incidents of August entering the sheriff’s property room “with intent to commit grand larceny” and transporting pot for sale, and Penney and August filling false reports.
The two were indicted by a grand jury Sept. 5.
August faces 15 charges, including conspiracy, burglary and transporting pot for sale. Penney faces seven charges on similar counts.
Green and Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said at a press conference Tuesday a year-long investigation by DA investigators turned up the new evidence against the former deputies.
Following an FBI investigation which found the two stole and distributed 25 pounds of pot, Penney and August pleaded guilty Aug. 7, 2017, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. They were sentenced to probation.
Youngblood, however, said he didn’t believe the FBI’s investigation uncovered everything. He asked the FBI to continue its investigation, and when it declined he turned to the Public Integrity Unit of the DA’s office.
It was during that investigation the theft of an additional 350 pounds of pot came to light.
Youngblood said he wanted to make clear Penney and August aren’t just being charged at the state level for the same crimes they’ve already admitted to in federal court.
“There are new issues and significant issues in this case that will come out in the near future,” he said.
The sheriff said the investigation is ongoing. He said they’re being thorough to make sure anyone in the department involved in these alleged crimes has been rooted out.
“It’s important to understand when someone betrays this occupation, this uniform, this badge, it’s not something we take lightly,” Youngblood said.
Green noted it’s not double jeopardy to charge Penney and August in connection with crimes they’ve already faced in federal court because federal and state court are separate jurisdictions. A person can be tried in federal court for an offense then stand trial in state court for the same act, and vice versa.
August, 32, and Penney, 36, pleaded not guilty in Superior Court Tuesday morning. The two made no comment other than to agree to waive time so a trial date could be postponed to a later date than usual.
A bail review is scheduled for Wednesday, then a motions hearing in late November. A trial date is set for Jan. 7.
August is represented by veteran Bakersfield attorney David A. Torres, Penney by prominent Fresno-based attorney Anthony Capozzi.
According to their federal plea agreements, August and Penney conspired with another law enforcement officer to sell drugs they stole from evidence lockers “on or about Sept. 19, 2014.”
The former deputies stole pot from the sheriff’s storage unit that had been previously confiscated from illegal marijuana-growing operations, according to the plea agreements. They stored the marijuana at Penney’s home until another person retrieved it and trimmed the plants into usable cannabis.
August then gave the marijuana to someone who previously worked for him as a confidential informant, and that person sold the weed and shared the profits, according to the agreements.
If convicted of all charges, August faces a maximum of 15 years in prison, Penney 9 years, eight months.
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