By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
In Soler's arrest affidavit, Losada wrote that Fernandez had observed Soler conduct several drug deals from the east side of the Eighteenth Avenue residence. "These detectives attempted to stop several buyers, with negative results," Losada jotted.
Soler tried to flee and dropped a bag containing five rocks inside individual baggies, Losada alleged. The detective also accused Soler of screaming obscenities and threatening the squad. "The suspect began to yell, öYou some pussy-ass niggas! You motherfuckers!'" Losada described, adding that Soler said, "Better let me go or I will fucking kill you, your wife, and your family!"
Losada charged Soler on six felony counts, including cocaine possession with intent to sell, resisting arrest with violence, tampering with evidence, corruption by threatening a police officer, and burglary of an unoccupied dwelling.
At 6:59 p.m. IA detectives were filming the house's interior when they received a call from one of their lookouts that Fernandez was headed back to the residence. IA exited the house and observed Fernandez's truck pull up to the house. They watched Fernandez enter the property by breaking the window to the bedroom fitted with cameras. On Trujillo's police radio, IA overheard Fernandez telling Losada: "The place is cleaned out. There is nothing left for us."
Hartman contends that Soler informed Losada he had hidden drugs under the sink in a bathroom of the residence. "Losada asks my client to go back and check," Hartman says. "Fernandez returns and doesn't find anything and relays it to Losada."
After his shift was over, Losada was pulled over by IA detectives. They searched Losada and found $183 on him. Of that amount, $160 was marked bills. IA detectives also found $330 in the passenger's side visor of Villalobos's Dodge truck. Two hundred dollars of that money was marked with Trujillo's badge number. During his deposition this past February 1, Villalobos vehemently denied knowing how the money got there.
Losada was placed under arrest. Fernandez was already in custody.
The arrests of Fernandez and Losada sent the crime suppression team reeling. The squad was disbanded, and the members who were not arrested were reassigned to uniform patrol or desk duty. Some members have avoided speaking to Fernandez and Losada, much less discuss with anyone the events that transpired January 12.
During his February 7 sworn statement, Leon said he has not had any contact with Losada but had a brief exchange with Fernandez. "When he was walking out today, I shook his hand," Leon said. "That was it."
Villalobos, a six-year-veteran, told prosecutors he doesn't want to believe Losada placed the $200 in marked money inside his truck, but conceded no one else could have done it. Villalobos added that he was embarrassed by the Fernandez and Losada indictments.
Detective Benavides was off the day his partners were busted. He recalled being in a state of shock after learning about their downfall from his supervisor, Sgt. Joe Williams, according to his February 22 deposition. "This kind of blew me away," Benavides said. "I thought he was joking with me."
Benavides also admitted to speaking with both his mates since their arrests. "See how [Fernandez is] doing," Benavides said. "See how his wife is doing. And the same thing with Losada I've spoken to him several times also since this."
According to his February 23 statement, De Armas learned of the arrests by watching the television news. "When I got home, I still didn't know what was going on," de Armas recollected, adding he felt "disgusted" when he found out. He said he has since spoken with Fernandez twice. The first time, Fernandez told him he was going to be subpoenaed, de Armas said. During their second conversation, he and Fernandez talked only about their pensions, de Armas insisted.
Recalling the events of January 12, de Armas told prosecutors he believed internal affairs planted the paper bag containing the crack that he found on the scene. De Armas said he found it odd that the bag was in almost perfect shape and that it resembled the bags police officers use to impound evidence. "They must have put the bag there because, usually, like I said, it's all crumbled up or whatever," de Armas surmised. "That was one [clue], and then the guy was acting up, like, big time, like the sellers usually don't act up like that."
Standing outside a local convenience store near his pad, Soler scoffs at de Armas's theory. "Man, the only people planting shit were those jump-out boys," Soler says. "Internal affairs checked every inch of the house and my body before the sting. They didn't want to embarrass one of their own, especially if I had been holding dope."
Soler combs the streets, looking for other individuals who have been allegedly harassed by Fernandez and Losada. He approaches a lithe, spaced-out young lady wearing an off-the-shoulder blouse and blue jeans. "Now is the time to say your piece about what that man Fernandez did to you," Soler implores her. The girl nervously darts her eyes around the parking lot. She quietly declines. "See, bro?" Soler says dejectedly. "No wants to talk but me. People are scared."
Still, Soler is well aware his criminal record presents significant credibility issues. "I really don't want to do anything to mess up this case," he says. "It's not fair to have cops like Fernandez and Losada on the street. If they get off, you better believe they will continue to do what they were doing. Of course, they will probably have to be more careful in how they do it."