Policemen arrested by Monterrey DA in a car theft scheme. After a six month investigation, five officers of the King City Police Department, the former department police chief, and the owner of a local towing company were arrested and charged with multiple counts of auto theft and embezzlement. The town of King City has a population of 13,000. Located 150 miles southeast of San Francisco, its police force of 17 was reduced by one-third after the recent arrests.
In what has become known as a widespread case of corruption that has gone unabated for years, the Monterrey County DA arrested the officers and the owner of a tow truck company. The DA charge accused the policemen of participating in a scheme that took advantage of area Hispanics by stealing their cars and auctioning the vehicles for a profit.
King City police impounded hundreds of vehicles, mostly driven by Hispanic immigrants with poor English skills and a limited understanding of American law. One unnamed victim of the thefts told investigators, that police take their property. They take their cars. They take their money and they, the Hispanics in the community could do nothing about it.
Officers involved with the scheme would pull over vehicles and if the owner did not have a driver’s license, the officer had the car towed. Knowing the owners could not afford to pay the ticket and the impounding fee, the accused officers either kept the cars for themselves or sold them for a profit.
Impounded automobiles in King City are handled by one of four local towing companies. These companies rotate their services with the police. However, Sgt. Carrillo sent 174 of the 200 vehicles he pulled over to a tow company owned by Brian Miller. Miller is the brother of acting Police Chief Bruce Miller.
The case against the six policemen arrested by the Monterrey DA along with the tow truck owner developed over a three-year period. The district attorney’s complaint stated that the accused received free vehicles impounded by King City officers. Those vehicles were then used by the officers for their own personal purposes or resold at auctions or online for a profit.
At a press conference, Monterrey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said that Sgt. Carrilo received a free vehicle for himself for every 15 car he pulled over and had towed. The confiscated vehicles came from economically disadvantaged Hispanics.
The district attorney charged Sgt. Carillo, Chief Miller, former Chief Dominic David Baldiviez and Mario Alonso Mottu Sr. with bribery and embezzlement. Two other King City officers, Jaime Andrade and Mark Allen Baker face unrelated charges of possession of an assault weapon, illegally storing a firearm, and suspicion of making criminal threats. All seven individuals arrested have since been released on bail and placed on paid administrative leave. Their arraignments are scheduled for next week.
Investigators became aware of the scheme last September when a visiting investigator assigned to a local homicide case heard reports from King City residents concerning police misconduct. The Monterrey DA arrest of the six policemen in a car theft scheme occurred after enough evidence was brought forward to warrant a case against them.
By Brian T. Yates