A South Lake Tahoe Police officer was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison on one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
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United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller ordered John Gerald Poland, 45, of South Lake Tahoe, to self-surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 6 to begin his sentence, a press release stated.
“Mr. Poland ended his career in law enforcement by abusing his position of trust at every turn,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner said in the press release. “When faced with the consequences of his misdeeds, he then attempted to influence witnesses who were called to testify against him. Such behavior cannot be tolerated. Mr. Poland stands in contrast to the other outstanding men and women in law enforcement who conduct themselves with dedication and honor every single day.”
Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the FBI’s Sacramento Division said that “Poland’s corruption distorted the laws he had been charged to uphold, put lives at risk, and undermined public trust of law enforcement in South Lake Tahoe.” She added, “Corruption of any kind is unwelcome in our communities. The investigation into Poland’s transgressions is an example of our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that individuals who take advantage of their positions at the expense of their communities are fully investigated and brought to justice.”
Poland interfered with an investigation into a South Lake Tahoe gang member on June 29, 2011. He persuaded the gang member’s girlfriend to conceal and destroy evidence, and in November and October of that year, tampered with evidence of an investigation into both his and the gang member’s conduct. He instructed another witness to destroy and conceal evidence, rather than providing it to federal authorities for the investigation. He “admitted that he corruptly attempted to alter, destroy, mutilate, and conceal evidence material to an official proceeding,” the press release read.
The case was investigated by the FBI, SLTPD and the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (SLEDNET Task Force). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rodriguez.