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Former Inglewood officer guilty plea for drug distribution


Stole, resold confiscated narcotics

A former Inglewood Police Department officer has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of distributing cocaine.

John Abel Baca, 47, of Whittier, who served as an Inglewood officer for 21 years, admitted that he distributed cocaine on two occasions, according to his plea agreement, filed on Oct. 10 in Los Angeles federal court.

On April 29, 2021, he delivered cocaine to a witness cooperating with law enforcement. Baca then delivered 2.2 pounds of cocaine to the same cooperating witness during a meeting the following week–in exchange for $22,000 in cash, the document states.

According to the agreement, in February 2021, the witness informed the FBI that Baca previously had offered to sell 2.2 pounds of cocaine, 4.4 pounds of “China White” heroin and an unlimited supply of black tar heroin. The informant reported that Baca claimed to have stolen drugs and cash during routine traffic stops that Baca made while on duty.

During a covertly recorded meeting in late April 2021, Baca provided a sample of the cocaine to the informant to provide to purported buyers. Several days later, Baca negotiated the price for 2.2 pounds of cocaine–$22,000 in cash–and then delivered a brick of cocaine to the informant's workplace. Later the same day, Baca collected $22,000 in cash from the cooperating witness.

In the plea agreement, Baca admitted that he abused his position of trust as a police officer, including by stealing drugs from the police department's lock-up and reselling them.

Baca agreed to plead guilty to one count of distribution of cocaine, a crime that carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison. Baca, who currently is free on a $1.1 million bond, is expected to formally plead guilty on Tuesday in Santa Ana federal court.