CHP OF­FI­CER FACES COUNTS

Depart­ment vet­eran is in­dicted in another al­leged bribery scheme at the DMV of­fice in El Ca­jon.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Tony Perry tony. perry@ latimes. com

SAN DIEGO — A vet­eran Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cer has been in­dicted in an al­leged bribery scheme at the Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles of­fice in El Ca­jon — the sec­ond such scan­dal to hit that of­fice in re­cent years.

The in­dict­ment of CHP Of­fi­cer Car­los Ravelo was un­sealed Thurs­day in San Diego fed­eral court. He pleaded not guilty to is­su­ing two tem­po­rary driver’s li­censes that he knew were bo­gus.

The in­dict­ment says that the charges are “sub­stan­tially the same facts” as the case of for­mer DMV em­ployee Alva Be­navidez, who pleaded guilty in Fe­bru­ary to tak­ing bribes of more than $ 5,000 to help peo­ple charged with drunk driv­ing to re­tain their li­censes.

Be­navidez ad­mit­ted tak­ing cash, gift cer­tifi­cates, purses, meals and other “lux­ury items” in ex­change for en­sur­ing that peo­ple re­ceived “fa­vor­able treat­ment” at the DMV’s driver safety of­fice in El Ca­jon.

Be­navidez re­signed from the DMV in late 2014 af­ter fed­eral of­fi­cers ex­e­cuted a search war­rant on her home and of­fice.

The in­dict­ment of Ravelo does not in­clude de­tails about what he al­legedly re­ceived in ex­change for ar­rang­ing the two false tem­po­rary li­censes.

A tem­po­rary Class- C li­cense al­lows peo­ple to drive a car or pickup truck while they ap­peal at a DMV hear­ing to avoid hav­ing their li­cense sus­pended for a drunk- driv­ing ar­rest or other “high risk” driv­ing of­fense.

A tem­po­rary li­cense al­lows some­one “to drive ve­hi­cles through the U. S. and on in­ter­state highways,” thus af­fect­ing “in­ter­state and for­eign com­merce,” ac­cord­ing to Ravelo’s in­dict­ment.

Jim Abele, CHP di­vi­sion chief in San Diego, said Ravelo is on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave but de­clined to pro­vide other de­tails.

The in­dict­ment says Ravelo has been with the CHP since Fe­bru­ary 2002 and is “well- versed in the Cal­i­for­nia laws” in­volv­ing drunk driv­ing and DMV hear­ings at which those sus­pen­sions can be ap­pealed.

Ac­cord­ing to the U. S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice, the case is sep­a­rate from that in which f ive DMV em­ploy­ees were con­victed for tak­ing bribes in the El Ca­jon and Ran­cho San Diego of­fices.

The bribes were in ex­change for is­su­ing driver’s li­censes to peo­ple who had f lunked or not taken the tests, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors.

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