Former Fresno Police Department Detective and Fresno Marijuana Trafficker Sentenced to Federal Prison for Bribery Conspiracy
FRESNO, CA—Derik Carson Kumagai, 41, of Fresno, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii to two years in prison for conspiring to commit bribery, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Kumagai was ordered to self-surrender on June 12 at 2:00 p.m. to begin serving his sentence.
In addition, co-defendant Saykham Somphoune, aka Oat, 41, also of Fresno, was sentenced to time served, which was 13 months in jail for his role in the bribery conspiracy. Both defendants were ordered to pay $13,962 in restitution.
According to court documents, beginning in April 2012, federal law enforcement agents were investigating a group of individuals that included Somphoune and one of his associates, for suspected cultivation and distribution of marijuana. In October and November 2013, Somphoune had a series of meetings with his associate, some of which were attended by Kumagai. At the time, Kumagai was a Fresno Police Department detective in the Vice and Intelligence Unit.
During these meetings, the associate was told that he was under federal investigation, but that in return for a bribe payment, Kumagai could close the investigation and arrange to have the associate designated as a confidential informant for the Fresno Police Department. On November 6, 2013, the associate paid Kumagai approximately $20,000 cash. A few hours later, the associate signed documents for the purported purpose of becoming a confidential informant for the Fresno Police Department. The defendants were arrested in March of 2014, and the associate never actually served as a confidential informant for the Fresno Police Department.
“Former detective Kumagai violated the trust given to him as a law enforcement officer,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “He will now spend time in federal prison for his corrupt conduct. It is an important mission of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute law enforcement officers and other public officials who abuse their official authority for their own personal gain. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute these cases.”
“Such criminal activity tarnishes the reputations of the men and women in law enforcement who are committed to upholding laws that keep citizens safe,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge John Gliatta of the Sacramento field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “We and our law enforcement partners are committed to the identification and investigation of any such activity to ensure that those who corruptly abuse public trust are held accountable for their criminal activity.”
“Former police officer Derik Kumagai participated in an elaborate bribery scheme in which he utilized his position as a law enforcement officer for personal gain. This type of behavior from a public servant is not only illegal, but also appalling,” stated DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Bruce C. Balzano. “DEA will vigorously work to hold those accountable who abuse their position and violate the public trust.”
“The defendant’s conduct was reprehensible and a dishonor to those who took an oath to uphold the law and protect citizens,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge José M. Martinez. “Mr. Kumagai used his position for personal gain, betraying the community he swore to protect. IRS-CI will continue to investigate public corruption to ensure everyone plays by the same rules—regardless of job or position.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Kevin P. Rooney prosecuted the case.
This case was the product of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a focused multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force investigating and prosecuting the most significant drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States by leveraging the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.