An alleged crime spree involving police corruption is bringing years of trust issues within King City to a head. Six King City Police officers are accused of targeting the poor Hispanic community, impounding their cars, then selling them for a profit. The indictment said the corruption and bribery went straight to two of the city's top cops.
Acting Chief Bruce Miller is charged with accepting a bribe and former Chief Nick Baldiviez is charged with embezzlement. Officer Mario Mottu Sr. also charged with embezzlement. Sergeant Bobby Carrillo faces several charges, including accepting a bribe and bribing an executive officer. In separate charges, Officer Jaime Andrade was charged with having and storing an illegal gun and Officer Mark Baker faces criminal threat charges. Miller's brother, Brian Miller, who owns the towing company was also charged.
We found out how this case will likely move through the legal system. The Monterey County District Attorney's Office said it's been paying attention to a lack of trust between residents and police for several years now. In serious crime cases involving homicide, investigators said witnesses didn't trust police enough to share good information.
A Salinas attorney said that's not surprising because officers are sworn to uphold the law.
“A violation of property entrusted to someone in a position of trust. If it is charged as a felony, that would mean, potential state prison looms, as a possible punishment," said Steven Wagner with Noland Hamerly Etienne & Hoss.
Wagner said a judge will determine how involved each officer was during the alleged scheme. The DA's office said it started to step in and help with cases where King City Police weren't able to make any headway. Those lead investigators to dig deeper, into rumors and accusations of corruption within the city over the past six months.
Wagner said because the District Attorney's Office and the Monterey County Sheriff's Department dedicated a significant amount of resources to this investigation. The county will likely seek the maximum penalty for each officer involved.