LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles County sheriff’s lieutenant who pushed the department to investigate charges that some deputies with ties to a Mexican drug cartel were involved in a murder-for-hire plot says she has serious doubts the department conducted a thorough investigation.
Lt. Katherine Voyer says she believes the charges were covered up, saying that not enough questions were asked in the investigation and that the two deputies who brought the information to her from an informant were never interviewed by sheriff’s department investigators.
Asked by KCAL9’s Dave Bryan if she felt the investigation had been whitewashed, Voyer said, “Yes.”
Voyer is suing the department, claiming that it retaliated against her.
“I thought it was my duty to continue to keep the department … conducting itself in a lawful manner. That is what we’re sworn to do,” Voyer said.
Sheriff Lee Baca, however, told Bryan that investigators took the informant’s charges very seriously, but that the allegations did not hold up under scrutiny.
When investigators tried to verify the details of the charges brought by the informant, the man’s story changed, Baca said. “We asked a lot of questions as to location, places and names,” Baca said.
Baca also noted that the informant made the allegations against two deputies who had arrested him on child molestation charges, calling it a “very coincidental conflict of interest” on the accuser’s part.
Bryan, though, said KCAL9 had learned exclusively that an earlier investigation by another branch of the sheriff’s department indicated that the actions and movement of the two suspect deputies on the night the informant was arrested raised questions about their actions and may have strengthened the informant’s credibility.
Bradley Gage, Voyer’s attorney, said records backed up the informant. “If this informant said that a deputy was at a certain place at a certain time, you can check their logs, you can check the records and see if that’s corroborated or not, and if they do [corroborate the charges], as I understand they do in this case, that definitely supports the claim of the informant,” he said.
Sheriff’s department spokesman Steve Whitmore said the finding that the deputies’ movements may have raised questions was part of a preliminary investigation, but that an 18-month investigation of the informant’s charges found no bodies were buried, no one missing and no foul play in the area that the informant described.
“The investigation has not, and I repeat this, has not, shown any truth, verification, validation of any of these allegations,” Whitmore said. “Even the individuals that the so-called informant said was with him during these situations—they say he’s not telling the truth, he’s fabricating this whole situation.”