Ex-fresno deputy po­lice chief sen­tenced to 4 years in prison

Con­spired to dis­trib­ute heroin and mar­i­juana

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U.S. District Judge An­thony W. Ishii sen­tenced for­mer Fresno deputy po­lice chief Keith Fos­ter to four years in prison for drug traf­fick­ing ac­tiv­ity with fam­ily and friends, U.S. At­tor­ney Phillip A. Tal­bert an­nounced Mon­day.

Fos­ter, 53, re­signed from his po­si­tion on April 3, 2015, one week af­ter his ar­rest. On May 23 of this year, a fed­eral jury in Fresno found Fos­ter guilty of con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute and pos­sess with in­tent to dis­trib­ute heroin and con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute and pos­sess with in­tent to dis­trib­ute mar­i­juana.

“Ear­lier this year, a jury found Keith Fos­ter guilty of vi­o­lat­ing the very laws he was sworn to en­force. By con­spir­ing with oth­ers to dis­trib­ute il­le­gal drugs, Fos­ter breached the trust that the com­mu­nity placed in him as deputy chief of the Fresno Po­lice De­part­ment and in­vited the dan­ger and vi­o­lence as­so­ci­ated with such ac­tiv­ity into our neigh­bor­hoods,” said Tal­bert.

“Like other law en­force­ment of­fi­cers we have con­victed for sim­i­lar crimes in this district, Fos­ter abused his po­si­tion of trust for his own fi­nan­cial gain,” U.S. At­tor­ney Tal­bert con­tin­ued. “Given that the abuse of metham­phetamine, opi­oids, and other drugs causes such im­mense harm to our com­mu­nity, we will zeal­ously pros­e­cute those in such po­si­tions who put profit over duty. I am grate­ful for the hard work of the ATF and the FBI, to­gether with the full co­op­er­a­tion of Fresno Po­lice Chief Jerry Dyer, in bring­ing Fos­ter to jus­tice. My of­fice is com­mit­ted to work­ing with our law en­force­ment part­ners to in­ves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute pub­lic cor­rup­tion to the fullest ex­tent of the law.”

Ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence pre­sented at trial, be­tween July 19, 2014, and March 26, 2015, Keith Fos­ter con­spired with his nephew Iran Den­nis “Denny” Fos­ter, 46, of Fresno, to ob­tain mar­i­juana from Ricky Reynolds, 50, of Shasta Lake. Denny Fos­ter reg­u­larly trav­eled to Reynolds’ res­i­dence to pur­chase mar­i­juana. On one of these trips, Denny Fos­ter was stopped by the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol in Merced County and ar­rested for pos­sess­ing six pounds of mar­i­juana in the trunk of his car. When he was ar­rested, his pas­sen­ger called Keith Fos­ter and Fos­ter said that he “could have pro­vided cover” for Denny Fos­ter if he had known about the trip ahead of time. He also said he would call his “narc guys.”

Also ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence pre­sented at trial, be­tween Dec. 23, 2014, and Feb. 2, 2015, Fos­ter con­spired with co-de­fen­dant Rafael Guz­man, 43, of Fresno, to ob­tain heroin for an­other per­son.

This case was the prod­uct of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Ex­plo­sives and the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion. As­sis­tant United States At­tor­neys Me­lanie L. Alsworth and Dawrence W. Rice Jr. are pros­e­cut­ing the case.

Six oth­ers pleaded guilty be­fore trial to var­i­ous of­fenses re­lated to the drug traf­fick­ing con­spir­acy. On July 10, Randy Flow­ers, 51, was sen­tenced to two years and nine months in prison, on Aug. 14, Denny Fos­ter, 46, was sen­tenced to a year and a half in prison. On Oct. 11, 2016, Rafael Guz­man, 43, of Fresno was sen­tenced to three years and four months in prison. Jen­nifer Don­abe­dian, 37, of Fresno, pleaded guilty to con­ceal­ing a felony and served 12 months’ pro­ba­tion. Sarah Ybarra, 39, of Fresno, pleaded guilty to con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute mar­i­juana and served one year in prison.

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