A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy -- once lauded by the Malibu City Council for breaking up a local theft ring but now accused of receiving bribes in exchange for fixing traffic tickets -- pleaded not guilty today to nine felony charges.
Edwin Allan Tamayo, 43, is charged with six counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice, two counts of accepting a bribe and one count of preparing false documents.
Tamayo, who was put on paid leave in February 2013 when the sheriff's department began an internal investigation, was arrested June 3 in San Diego and released on a $25,000 bond. The charges were filed against him two days later.
Tamayo -- who was most recently assigned to the sheriff's Lost Hills station, which patrols Malibu, Calabasas and Agoura Hills -- is accused of being compensated on at least two occasions by friends or acquaintances who sought his help with their traffic tickets. He was allegedly paid at least $1,000 by a driver in one instance to get rid of three tickets in 2012.
Tamayo managed to fix tickets by removing them before they were filed in court and took court notices from a colleague's office mailbox without the deputy's knowledge, Deputy District Attorney Deborah Delport alleged.
Tamayo is due back at the downtown Los Angeles courthouseon July 15, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
If convicted as charged, he faces up to nine years and eight months in state prison, according to the District Attorney's Office.
Tamayo has a filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County in which he alleges that he was ordered by his unit commander to pick up sealed envelopes containing donations for then-Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, which he considered illegal. Tamayo told the Los Angeles Times that he had worn a wire for the FBI in that matter.
--City News Service