SAN FRANCISCO - Federal grand juries have indicted six current and former San Francisco police officers, charging three with stealing money, drugs, electronics and gift cards seized during investigations, federal prosecutors announced today.
According to the indictment, the three took items they seized during an arrest in 2009, including a $500 Apple gift card. Two days later, one of them used the gift card to buy an iPhone and iPod Nano, prosecutors said.
They were identified as Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, of Pleasant Hill; Officer Edmond Robles, 46, of Danville; and former officer Reynaldo Vargas, 45, of Palm Desert.
The officers were suspended without pay and had their guns taken away, Police Chief Greg Suhr said shortly after the indictments were announced.
"Our department is shaken. This is as serious as an issue as I can recall in my time in the department," said an emotional Suhr, who has been with the San Francisco Police Department since 1981.
Suhr said federal authorities assured him the arrests did not reflect a systemic problem in the department.
Furminger, Robles and Vargas each face two drug-related counts carrying a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. They also face a charge of civil rights conspiracy that carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $250,000 fine.
In another incident the same month, the indictment says, the officers took marijuana. Vargas is accused of delivering the pot to two informants and asking them to sell it and split the proceeds with him, Furminger and Robles.
In a separate indictment, three officers were charged with civil rights violations. Prosecutors say the officers entered hotel rooms illegally and intimidated occupants.
The charges were based on surveillance footage from a hotel in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood that was released by the city's public defender, Jeff Adachi, in 2011. Adachi claimed the videos of plainclothes officers contradicted police reports and sworn police testimony.