Pubdate: Tue, 12 Jan 2016
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2016 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Monica Vaughan
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)


The California Department of Justice is investigating the Yuba-Sutter 
drug and gang task force, NET-5, following the arrest of one of its agents.

Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper announced last week the 
task force would be audited by an outside agency following the arrest 
of local drug agent Christopher "Mark" Heath.

Heath, a Yuba County sheriff's deputy assigned to NET-5 for three 
years, was arrested on suspicion of trafficking 247 pounds of 
marijuana across the country.

As the chair of the council that oversees NET-5, Hopper said local 
law enforcement leaders want a complete organizational review of 
NET-5, from top to bottom, "to make sure this is an isolated incident."

The DOJ has the skill level and the manpower to undergo the 
investigation thoroughly and promptly, and its investigators were 
willing to begin this week, Hopper said.

State investigators began the process last week and will be in the 
area this week.

The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment by the end of the day Monday.

In his role with NET-5, Heath wrote search warrants, served as a 
witness in criminal cases and processed evidence.

NET-5 Commander Martin Horan said days after Heath's arrest, there 
hadn't been any evidence the marijuana found in Pennsylvania came 
from NET-5 busts.

Both Hopper and Yuba County District Attorney Patrick McGrath are 
evaluating cases in which Heath was the lead investigator. Horan 
identified 62 such cases.

The district attorneys said there may be additional cases that are impacted.
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