The FBI sting and arrest of LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Collins isn’t as shocking as that of former California state senator and Secretary of State candidate Leland Yee (D-RPG Trafficker), but it’s right up there.
Collins was arrested Tuesday, accused of running an “extensive drug trafficking network” and “accept[ing] bribes to use his law enforcement status for criminal purposes.
Undercover FBI agents approached Collins last year, seeking his assistance in providing security for a marijuana grow house. Collins told them “he had three teams already working in the region, including one that was protecting an illegal marijuana grow house disguised as an auto repair shop.” To assure his potential clients that his team had the cajones to get the job done, Collins “boasted that he and two comrades were hired by a client to set ablaze an $85,000 Cadillac truck in order to intimidate someone.”
In a separate meeting, Collins told the agents he had connections in Northern California as well, and could sell them $4 million of marijuana (yes, $4 million!) a month.
Marijuana wasn’t the only contraband Collins’ team handled. The undercover team engaged Collins for a number of “test runs,” including one in which a shipment of methamphetamines (which were fake) and other contraband was to be delivered to Las Vegas. The agents hesitated after Collins named his price, but the crooked deputy stuck to it.
“We’re cops,” Collins said, according to the complaint. “We deal with a lot of, you know, kind of high-end clients, and $25,000, they’re like, you know, it’s like as long as you can make sure my shipment gets from here to there, that’s fine.… They make profits in upwards of $5 million on certain, certain transports.”
When Collins met with the undercover agents Tuesday, he believed his team would be providing security for a shipment consisting of “20 kilograms of cocaine, 6 kilograms of methamphetamine and cash.” The initial price tag for his team’s services was $75,000, but in subsequent meetings Collins tried to sell the agents on moving a larger quantity of drugs and paying him up to $250,000, according to the court filings.
At his initial court appearance, Collins’ attorney argued that he should be granted bail because he “posed no risk to the community” and that “his wife and mother-in-law would put up $115,000 as assurance that he would not flee” – not even to his family in Cuba, where he’d recently visited. Besides, the attorney argued, save a 1999 drunk driving conviction, he has no criminal record.
Gee, I wonder why that is? Here is a man who told his clients, “I fix problems. I make a lot of things go away…” Such as an $85,000 Cadillac SUV.
In addition to Collins, three other men were arrested Tuesday morning as a result of the undercover operation. Only one defendant, a man who served as a lookout driver during the test run to Las Vegas, was granted bail.