LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A former Montebello police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge of bribing a drug trafficker.
Rudolph Petersen, 34, pleaded guilty to a single-count information charging him with bribery, according to the Department of Justice.
Petersen, who served as a Montebello police officer for nearly four years, solicited and received several cash bribes from a gang member and drug trafficker, according to his plea agreement. Prosecutors say Petersen admitted to taking a total of $14,000 in cash bribes since 2018.
Federal prosecutors say the drug trafficker, identified only as "co-schemer 2," told Petersen he would put him "on his payroll" during a dinner in mid-2018, and gave him $500 through an intermediary. In December of that year, Petersen agreed to take $10,000 to escort a U-Haul truck containing illegally grown marijuana from Fontana to a location off the 60 Freeway near Rowland Heights, according to the plea agreement. Petersen also admitted to escorting at least one more drug shipment, prosecutors said.
The former police officer also admitted to accessing law enforcement databases to find information on a "snitch" who helped intercept a cocaine shipment, according to the plea agreement. Federal prosecutors say Petersen was paid between $500 to $1,000 per database search on that informant, and others suspected of cooperating with law enforcement.
In another incident that happened just last year, Petersen was paid $1,000 to look into whether tracking devices were part of a state or federal law enforcement investigation.
Petersen faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 11, 2022.
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