Cop With Checkered Past Arrested For Alleged Witness Tampering, Coaching Drug Trafficers, And Love Triangle With Gang Member’s Girlfriend.

Posted on January 25, 2013


California (The Gaslamp Post) – It’s been said, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.  How many times does a guy with a badge have to be red flagged before they are finally cuffed?

An officer from Lake Tahoe was arrested at his station last week amid an FBI investigation surrounding his alleged involvement with street gang drug trade, and an affair he may have been having with the girlfriend of a known gang member.  Lake Tahoe police officer Johnny Poland was taken into custody at his station by FBI agents last Wednesday after an undercover sting.

Officer Johnny Poland – Image Adam Jensen, Tahoe Daily Tribune.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Eastern California (criminal complaint case #2:13-mj-00019-DAD), Officer Poland has been charged with witness tampering and influencing witness testimony in a 5 count criminal case, all violations of 18 U.S.C. 1512.  This is not the first bump in the road as far as Officer Poland’s career is concerned.

Since 2007, Poland has been fired from his department over mishandling of a school lockdown, but was reinstated by a 3 panel judge court.  He has also been accused of “cultivating relationships with future gang members”, and allegedly used his position as a South Lake Tahoe Resource Officer to have sex with underage high school girls.

This most recent case stems from an investigation into his activities where the once disavowed shield is alleged to have coached his revealed-to-be love interest, a known gang member’s girlfriend, on how to teach her street gang on how to avert police attention.  According to the criminal complaint, Officer Poland “actively tried to help drug traffickers evade police and throw investigators off their path.”

Officer Poland. Image Lake Tahoe News.

Since an inquiry by a grand jury in 2011, Poland who was aware of the heat he may have been drawing, is also alleged to have coached the girlfriend of the high-ranking gang member on how to cover up the relationship he had with her.

“Clearly the department’s been affected by this particular officer with a history that dates back several years,” Police Chief Brian Uhler said.

Uhler knows accusations of a corrupt cop working in his department will make many worry about other officers, but Uhler said Poland’s arrest came as a result of the work of South Tahoe police coordinating with federal agents.

The El Dorado County District Attorney is also reviewing the case for possible additional state charges.

“For the department it is a relief to get through this stage,” Uhler said.

(h/t:  Gabriel Roxas – KXTV)