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Bakersfield Police Detective Who Inspired Disney Movie Arrested On Bribery, Drug Charges

Bakersfield Police Department Detective Damacio Diaz

A Bakersfield police detective is under arrest today after he allegedly took bribes from a drug dealer. 

The FBI and US Department of Justice allege that detective Damacio Diaz accepted thousands of dollars in bribes from a drug dealer. In exchange, the FBI alleges Diaz tipped the dealer off to law enforcement activities and the confidential names of informants.

In a 16-count indictment, Diaz is also charged with retaining seized narcotics with the intent to distribute, disclosing the contents of a wiretap investigation and filing false tax returns. 

Diaz was a prominent member of the department. In high school he was part of the famed McFarland cross country team, and earlier this year, he was portrayed in the Disney film McFarland USA. 

Diaz had been with the department for 17 years, and has been on administrative leave since the start of the investigation. U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner says the arrest is the result of an investigation over the last several months involving the FBI, DEA, IRS and the Bakersfield Police Department.

If convicted, Diaz could face life in prison.

In a press release, Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson commented on the arrest:

“I am deeply disappointed by the indictment and arrest of Bakersfield Police Detective Damacio Diaz,” said Bakersfield police Chief Greg Williamson. “The behavior and criminal activity stated in the indictment is not reflective of the commitment and awesome public service the over 500 employees of the Bakersfield Police Department provide to our community on a consistent basis. Detectives from the department’s investigative and internal administrative divisions have worked side by side with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office during the entirety of this investigation. I am proud of their work and diligence in first bringing this case forward and seeing it through to completion.”

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of Valley Public Radio. During his tenure, he's helped lead the station through major programming changes and the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining the station's financial health. From 2010-2018 he served as the station's Director of Program Content. In that role, he also served as the host of Valley Edition, and helped launch and grow the station's award-winning local news department. He is a Fresno native and a graduate of California State University, Fresno.
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