King City Police Officers Arrested in Car Towing Scheme
Six King City police officers, including the former police chief and acting police chief, are facing corruption charges. The arrests were made Tuesday morning by the Monterey County Sheriff, the FBI, Salinas Police and the Monterey County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.
Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said the arrests came after a six month investigation initiated by complaints from King city residents. “People saying they take our property, they take our money, they take our cars,” said Flippo.
The focus of the investigation involved four of the officers and Miller’s Towing company of King City.
District Attorney Flippo says the victims were economically disadvantaged people of Hispanic descent. The alleged scheme involved impounding their cars, and when the victims couldn’t pay the fees, the vehicles were allegedly given to the officers to keep or resell. The number of vehicles involved runs into the hundreds.
Flippo says this case if a particularly difficult one for his office. “Anytime you end up investigating and charging those who were sworn to enforce the law, uphold the law and treat everyone fairly, and you have violations of those duties and that oath, that is difficult for us. But my conclusion is that the citizens of King City deserve better than what they’ve been receiving,” said Flippo.
Monterey County Sheriff Scott Miller says his department will work with King City to maintain law enforcement in the City while a more permanent solution is worked out. Tuesday’s arrests make a major dent in the Police Department’s staff.
“People who were arrested today constitute not only a large percentage of the police force, but also, in effect, the senior leadership of the police force,” said Sheriff Miller.
Those arrested in the scheme include Sergeant Bobby Carillo, acting Chief Bruce Miller, Former Chief Dominic Baldiviez, Officer Mario Mottu and Brian Miller owner of Miller’s Towing.
Two officers were arrested in on separate charges. Officer Jaime Andrade faces charges of possession of an assault weapon and illegal storage of a firearm. And Officer Mark Baker faces a charge of criminal threats.
Arraignments will begin on Monday.