A federal grand jury indictment that accuses two former Richmond police officers of buying guns for minors, lying to investigators and tampering with evidence is the latest in a growing
The indictment was filed in a federal courtroom in San Francisco Thursday against ex-cops Danny Harris Jr. and Raymond Thomas Jr. after an 11-month investigation. It says the pair forced two police Explorers, both under 21, to buy guns for them, then threatened the young men to prevent them from telling anyone about it.
Thomas and Harris then paid Concord private eye Christopher Butler $1,800 to set up a drunken driving arrest to sully the young mens' reputation, the indictment says.
"The alleged goal of the sting operation was to have the minors arrested for drunk driving and illegal possession of the guns," according to an FBI press release.
Prosecutors say Harris and Thomas OK'd the plan, in which a woman hired by the private eye would meet one of the Explorers and set up a date. (Read this April 5 Patch story for more details.)
"The plan was for the woman to encourage the minor to bring his gun to one of those meetings," the FBI statement reads. "According to the indictment, the woman did meet the minor and they exchanged cell phone numbers. Through text messages, they set up a social engagement, and the woman asked the minor to bring his gun to the engagement."
The scam involved having the minor drink with the woman at a San Ramon bar and then get arrested in Danville.
The defendants were ordered to appear in federal court in Oakland on Aug. 9 for an arraignment. Together they face a litany of charges punishable by decades in federal prison.
Butler, the private investigator allegedly hired by Harris and Thomas, was arrested in February and named in a case against several former police officers accused of stealing drugs from evidence lockers and selling it back to dealers.
Former Contra Costa County Narcotics Task Force head , ex-San Ramon Officer and ex-Danville Officer face charges from both county and federal prosecutors.