Pubdate: Fri, 22 Jan 2016
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2016 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Monica Vaughan


The NET-5 drug and gang task force was temporarily disbanded during a 
continuing investigation into its operations prompted by the arrest 
of one of its members.

Inspectors from the California Department of Justice required 
unlimited access to the narcotics and gang task force office as part 
of their top-to-bottom investigation into the agency's operations, 
practices and procedures, Commander Martin Horan said.

The investigation was launched after one of the task force agents, 
former Yuba County sheriff's Deputy Christopher Mark Heath, became 
the subject of two criminal investigations, one of which resulted in 
felony charges of marijuana trafficking.

Agents assigned to NET-5 were temporarily sent back to their 
employing agencies from Jan. 12 to Jan. 19.

"Inspectors informed us that they were still continuing to 
investigate, but did not need unlimited access to the building 
itself," said Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper, who 
chairs the NET-5 Council.

Some agents did reassemble on Jan. 16 in response to reports of two 
butane honey (hash) oil labs.

"Agents scrambled to respond without gear and equipment. For the 
public's safety, we wanted to get them back to work as soon as 
possible," Hopper said.

The Department of Justice oversaw regional drug task forces until 
2012, when local jurisdictions took over, Hopper said. During the 
previous era, DOJ performed audits of task forces every two years. 
This investigation, however, is more involved than a traditional 
audit, she said.

Hopper had previously said the council chose DOJ to perform the 
investigation, in part, because the council wanted inspectors who had 
no relationship with local task force agents.

While Martin Horan was previously a special agent supervisor with the 
Bureau of Narcotics, Hopper said DOJ inspectors working the NET-5 
investigation "all said they had no personal relationship with Martin Horan."

"I believe one knew of him, but none worked with him," she said.

Horan's son, Martin Horan Jr. is also employed with DOJ. In 2014, his 
job title was listed as deputy chief of criminal investigations at 
the California DOJ.

Horan of NET-5 said his son is still there, as the chief of 
investigations for medical fraud.

Hopper said she did not specifically inquire if the inspectors have 
relationships with Horan Jr.

"I asked if they had affiliation with any people here," she said. 
"They did not."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom