Fresno Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster was arrested Thursday, along with six others, on federal drug charges, after a year-long joint investigation by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
Deputy Chief Foster, 51, was arrested on three charges of conspiracy to distribute and/or possess, with intent to distribute oxycodone, marijuana, and heroin, according to a federal criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
Foster was in charge of overseeing patrol operations in each of the Fresno Police Department’s four districts, according to The Fresno Bee. Fresno PD Chief Jerry Dyer told the Bee that Foster has been placed on administrative leave without pay and ordered to turn in his gun and badge until the federal investigation is completed. Dyer said he was “shocked” by Foster’s arrest.
Dyer told the Bee:
I think it sends a strong message that whether they are an individual who is in a gang or whether they are a person in the police department, no one is above the law, and if they commit a violation of the law, they are going to be investigated and arrested and they too will have their day in court to prove their innocence.
Also arrested in the drug investigation were Rafael Guzman, 41; Randy Flowers, 48; Jennifer Donabedian, 35; Iran Dennis “Denny” Foster, 48; and Sarah Ybarra, 37. A federal official told the Bee that Keith and Denny Foster are related, and Dyer told the paper that Foster and Randy Flowers may also be related.
ATF agent Sherri L. Reynolds described the nature of Fosters’ alleged criminal enterprises in the federal affidavit. Reynolds wrote that Foster had conspired with Flowers, Denny Foster, and Rafael Guzman, respectively, on oxycodone, marijuana, and heroin possession. Denny Foster and Sarah Ybarra were also charged with use of a communication facility to commit a drug offense.
On Thursday, United States Magistrate Judge Gary Austin ordered that the federal affidavit be unsealed and made available to the public, as the arrest warrants had “already been executed.”
According to the Associated Press, Foster is a 29-year veteran of the Fresno Police Department and has been a deputy chief since January 2007.