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Inglewood police officer charged with selling cocaine

October 29, 2021 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An Inglewood police officer has been charged him with trying to sell a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cocaine to a law enforcement informant, authorities announced Friday.

Officer John Abel Baca, 45, of Whittier was arrested last week after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of distributing the drug, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Baca’s one-time police informant, Gerardo Ekonomo, 42, of South Los Angeles, was arrested Thursday and charged Friday with intent to distribute heroin after FBI agents found more than a kilogram of heroin and about half that much cocaine buried in his yard, prosecutors said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Baca or Ekonomo had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

Baca is a 21-year veteran of the Inglewood department and served as its police union representative, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

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Baca is accused of delivering cocaine in April to a witness cooperating with law enforcement, and then delivering a kilogram of cocaine to the same person in May in exchange for $22,000 in cash.

Baca won approval five years ago for Ekonomo to work as a confidential informant but Ekonomo never conducted any operations after being signed up, according to a court filing.

If convicted, Baca could face at least five years and up to 60 years in prison. Ekonomo faces 10 years to life.