Archive for the ‘District Attorney’ Category

Antioch nanny charged with possession, distribution of child porn

Tuesday, September 26th, 2023
Michelle Hidalgo in a post on her Facebook page on October 26, 2022.

Result of effort by countywide task force; held on $700,000 bail

By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney

A 28-year-old resident of Antioch was charged today in a seven-count felony complaint by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office for the production and distribution of child pornography.

Michelle Nicole Hidalgo was arrested on Friday, September 22, 2023, by the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Officers served Hidalgo with a search warrant at her home and seized equipment used in the production and distribution of pornographic images of minors. The search of Hidalgo’s home and her arrest came after task force members were notified by a social media company on September 21st that child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) of a small child were being shared on their platform.

At the time of her arrest in Antioch, Hidalgo was working part-time as a nanny for the victim’s family.

Hidalgo remains in the custody of the Contra Costa County Sheriff and her bail has been set at $700,000. She will make her first court appearance on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, in Martinez.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Hidalgo is 5’3”, 250 lbs. and Hispanic and born on born on December 23, 1994 and is being held in the Martinez Detention Facility on $800,000 bail. Her Facebook profile shows she lives in Antioch and is from Pacifica, CA where she studied at Terra Nova High School.

The case is being prosecuted by the Sexual Assault Unit of the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office. It was investigated by the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, in which detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Brentwood, Pittsburg, San Ramon, Danville, Oakley, and Moraga Police Departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, United States Secret Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and Inspectors from the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate on the task force.

Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact Senior Inspector Darryl Holcombe,

Case information: | The People of the State of California v. Hidalgo, Michelle Nicole

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Antioch man pleads guilty to leading organized theft of lottery scratchers

Monday, August 21st, 2023

Has history of arrests by multiple agencies; group committed more than 100 thefts in 7 counties

By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office

The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office and officials with the California State Lottery announced Friday, August 18, 2023, that Ryan Anderson plead guilty to nine felony charges as the ringleader of a sophisticated organized retail theft ring.

The 32-year-old Antioch resident (born 1/18/91) was the mastermind behind a group responsible for committing more than 100 organized retail crime thefts from stores authorized to sell California Lottery Scratchers and redeem winning Scratcher tickets for prize money. Anderson, and other associated with him, targeted convenience and grocery stores throughout the counties of Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, and Stanislaus.

“Organized retail crime is serious a crime that will not be tolerated in our communities,” said District Attorney Diana Becton. “We will continue to work with our retailers and all of our state and local justice partners to hold these offenders accountable with arrest, prosecution, conviction, incarceration, and full restitution.”

By early 2022, the California State Lottery investigators — working with multiple law enforcement agencies and Contra Costa DA’s Major Financial Crimes division — identified Anderson as the ringleader of a group responsible for 71 separate thefts of lottery tickets valued at a total of $95,565.00 and an additional $59,105.00 in prize money stolen from 65 retail locations across 7 Northern California counties between March 27th, 2022, and October 25, 2022. The retail crime spree stopped when Contra Costa prosecutors were able to keep Anderson in custody.

Under state laws, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office was able to prosecute Anderson for all his crimes, even though they occurred in multiple counties. This is because state laws allow a single county to prosecute offenses if a crime — or the effects of a crime — crosses county lines.

During a court hearing in Martinez today, the California State Lottery made a victim impact statement noting that “tens of thousands of dollars” Anderson and others stole victimized not only the California State Lottery, but also its retail partners, many of which are “small, independently owned businesses that rely on the sale of Lottery games to thrive.” Moreover, lottery players were victims who lost out on the opportunity to win, and “public school students who have been robbed of additional funds to support important programs and enriching learning environments.”

The terms of the plea mean that Anderson will spend three years in state prison, admit probation violations, and pay full restitution to the California State Lottery. In court, Anderson presented a letter of apology to the victims of the crimes he committed saying, in part, that he wants to make an “honest living” so he will be able to “pay back any money [that] is owed.”

The lengthy investigation into these incidents was favorable due to the partnerships between the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office, the Contra Costa Probation Department, the Security/Law Enforcement Division of the California State Lottery, and the collaborative efforts of dozens of local law enforcement agencies.

According to, Anderson, a 5’11”, 170 lb. Black male, has a history of arrests dating back to 2015 by multiple agencies including Antioch PD, Concord PD, Walnut Creek PD, Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office and Sacramento Sheriff’s Office for a variety of crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon or assault with force likely to produce great bodily harm, vandalism, vehicle theft, attempted robbery, petty theft, DUI and while license suspended, and burglary.

Case No. 04-22-01154 | The People of the State of California v. Anderson, Ryan

Case No. 04-203281-1| The People of the State of California v. Anderson, Ryan

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

DA charges five Antioch, Pittsburg officers with obstruction of justice, bribery for fixing traffic tickets

Saturday, August 19th, 2023

Face six complaints; three APD personnel arrested Thursday now on unpaid leave

By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton announced Friday, August 18, 2023, the filing of charges against five officers who engaged in a criminal conspiracy and accepted bribes for voiding the citations of friends while serving as sworn police officers for the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments.

“The charges set forth in these complaints allege offenses of public corruption,” said District Attorney Becton. “As District Attorney for Contra Costa County, my role is to seek justice and work on solutions to improve our communities. The legal action we’ve taken here today reflects that commitment.”

In all, six complaints were filed in Superior Court of California, County of Contra Costa. The alleged offenses center on fixing traffic violations of associates of sworn peace officers. The defendants are: former Antioch officer Timothy Manly Williams and current officers Calvin Prieto, Andrea Rodriguez and Ben Padilla and former Pittsburg officer Juan Ernesto Mejia-Orozco.

On March 22, 2022, state and federal investigators obtained search warrants for the cell phones of a number of officers. During a forensic analysis of the phones, investigators uncovered evidence of criminal wrongdoing, which culminated in conspiracy to obstruct justice and bribery.

Timothy Manly-Williams also faces a federal criminal indictment related to violations that arose out of a joint DA/FBI investigation.

In addition to the criminal conduct, a large trove of overtly racist, sexist, and homophobic text messages was uncovered. The conduct of the officers has compromised a number of cases and triggered scrutiny under the California Racial Justice Act (PC 745).

As previously reported, Manly-Williams, who is no longer with APD, and Mejia-Orozco, were indicted on Wednesday and arrested Thursday following the FBI investigation, along with two current and two former Antioch officers as well as one current Antioch community service officer and one current and two former Pittsburg officers.

In a Friday evening email, Acting Antioch City Manager Kwame Reed wrote, “All staff members that received federal indictment have been placed on unpaid administrative leave.” They include Officers Morteza Amiri and Eric Allen Rombough and Community Service Officer Samantha Genoveva Peterson.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

9 Antioch, Pittsburg officers charged with civil rights violations, steroid distribution, wire fraud, destroying evidence

Thursday, August 17th, 2023
Current and former Antioch officers arrested on Thursday, August 17, 2023, are (top L-R) Community Service Officer Samantha Genoveva Peterson, Officers Morteza Amiri and Eric Allen Rombough and (bottom L-R) former officers Devon Christopher Wenger, Timothy Allen Manly Williams and Daniel James Harris. Photos: APD

Press conference held on arrests, indictments of 3 current, 3 former APD, 3 former Pittsburg and 1 Oakland Housing Authority cops; face up to 10 to 20 years in prison and $250,000 to $500,000 in fines

Three Antioch officers charged with civil rights crimes for their alleged conspiracy to use unnecessary force in deploying munitions and a police K-9

“This is a complicated investigation. These always are.” – U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey – “Every defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. No defendant is charged with all the charges in all the conduct.”

By Allen D. Payton

U.S. Attorney for the Northern California District Ismail Ramsey in his first press conference in San Francisco and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Francisco Division Robert Tripp, shared information about the 10 current and former Antioch and Pittsburg Police officers who were arrested this morning on multiple charges. It follows the four indictments issued by the federal Grand Jury, yesterday and which were unsealed, today.

Joining Ramsey and Tripp at the press conference were Contra Chief Assistant District Attorney Simon O’Connell and several members of the prosecution team, Laura Vartain, Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Northern California Special Prosecution Unit including Alethea Sargent, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division, Eric Cheng Assistant U.S. Attorney, Special Prosecutions, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ajay Krishnamurthy.

Former Pittsburg Officer Amanda Carmella Theodosy (aka Nash), Ernesto Juan Mejia-Orozco and Patrick James Berhan were arrested on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. Photos: Pittsburg PD (A photo of Oakland Housing Authority officer Brauli Rodriguez Jalapa could not be located).

Indicted and arrested are current Antioch officers Morteza Amiri, Eric Allen Rombough and Community Service Officer Samantha Genoveva Peterson, former APD officers Daniel James Harris, Devon Christopher Wenger and Timothy Allen Manly Williams, as well as former Pittsburg officers Amanda Carmella Theodosy (aka Nash), Patrick James Berhan and Ernesto Juan Mejia-Orozco, and Oakland Housing Authority officer and Brauli Rodriguez Jalapa.

U.S. Attorney for Northern California Ismail Ramsey holds a press conference with and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Francisco Division Robert Tripp, (2nd from left), Assistant U.S. Attorney, Special Prosecutions Eric Cheng, Contra Chief Assistant District Attorney Simon O’Connell and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ajay Krishnamurthy. Screenshot of NBC Bay Area News video.

After a year-and-a-half investigation by the FBI and Contra Costa DA’s Office for what were referred to as “crimes of moral turpitude”, committed by the current and former officers were finally described. Ramsey said they include conspiracy to violate civil rights, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, distributing anabolic steroids, obstruction and civil rights violations.

“Every defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. No defendant is charged with all the charges in all the conduct,” he stated.

Ramsey then described the four indictments against the officers.

The first he labeled the “college degree benefits fraud indictment” in which “officers sought to defraud the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments. They hired people to attend classes and take exams for them. They conspired…to reap the financial benefits without putting in the work.”

“Two defendants are charged with distributing anabolic steroids,” Ramsey continued. “One of the two defendants destroyed evidence. Those are former Antioch officers Daniel Harris and Devon Wenger.

“One defendant is charged with obstruction indictment,” he continued. “A police officer destroyed, altered evidence to obstruct a federal investigation…monitored a wiretap. He used his own personal phone to call a defendant in the wiretap.” That refers to former Antioch officer Timothy Allen Manly Williams.

Ramsey said he is “Also charged with a civil rights violation in confiscating a citizen’s phone and destroying it to conceal evidence.”

The fourth he referred to as the “deprivations of rights indictment…a 29-page indictment of three officers in the Antioch Police Department.” They include the “improper deployment of canines and weapons to harm individuals in and around Antioch. They boasted about illegal use of force and texted photos of injured individuals,” Ramsey said. That indictment includes current officers Morteza Amiri, Eric Allen Rombough and Wenger.

He referred to them as “a group of officers who acted is if they were above the law. They tried to escape scrutiny by failing to submit truthful reports and deploy body warn cameras.”

Asked later about that claim since Antioch officers didn’t have body worn cameras during the time period of their alleged crimes, DOJ Nor Cal spokesman Abraham Simmons responded, “I am certain he is referencing the allegations actually in the indictments. I can look again at the indictments.”

“Officers take an oath,” Ramsey continued during the press conference. “The indictments paint a picture, today that demonstrate officers who have violated that oath.

“All officers indicted have been arrested,” he added and thanked those involved including CCDA Becton.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Tripp said, they “arrested nine subjects. All are or were associated with the Pittsburg or Antioch Police Departments. Three were current employees who had been placed on administrative leave.”

The arrests were made in “the Bay Area, Hawaii and Texas” and “more than 100 law enforcement employees participated,” he stated.

Tripp said it was the result of “more than two years of painstaking work.” 

“The FBI treated these arrests like any other operation,” he said. “We used the same techniques and assessed the risks.

“This case has been the SF Field Office’s top priority,” Tripp continued. “We use the term color of law for the shorthand of someone using their official position to undermine public confidence in the law and undermine the fundamental rights of our citizens.”

“Color of law violations will not be tolerated. Not all indictments are color of law violations. Any breach of the public trust is unacceptable. Nobody is above the law,” he stated.

In response to a question from a member of the media “will more indictments be coming down,” Ramsey said, “The investigation is still continuing,” Ramsey said.

Asked “can we expect any state charges?” he said. “We’re here to comment on our charges. The investigation on the federal side is continuing. We are now at the point where we have indictments returned and individuals in custody.”

Asked where the court cases will be held Ramsey said, “This case is venued in Oakland. There have been numerous hearings today. The schedule for additional appearances is being worked out.”

Asked about those arrested in Texas and Hawaii Ramsey said, “The arraignments for those will happen in the districts where they were arrested. They then have to…be brought to here, to address the charges on this case.”

“Civil rights violations under the color of law are a priority…of my office and the FBI’s,” he stated

Asked about the text messages he responded, “As laid out in the indictment there’s a series of text messages…in which officers are bragging about violating citizens’ civil rights and texting photos of citizens. We believe these are egregious and has led to these charges. This is a complicated investigation. These always are. We have four of the ASA’s who worked tirelessly on this case. They’re prepared to take steps necessary to prosecute.”

“Civil rights violations are a unique priority of ours. I don’t want you to think steroid distribution or wire fraud are not serious. They’re federal violations,” Ramsey added.

Press Release Offers Additional Details in Indictments

A press release labeled “Bad Apples Indictment” was issued later Thursday with additional details about the indictments:

At the press conference, U.S. Attorney Ramsey referred to the first indictment as the “college degree benefits fraud indictment.” According to the indictment, six defendants engaged in a conspiracy to defraud police departments out of taxpayer dollars, including the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments, by claiming they had earned college credits toward degrees when, instead, they paid others to attend classes and take exams for them. Specifically, beginning in June of 2019, Officer Patrick James Berhan of the Pittsburg Police Department utilized a person identified as “Individual 1” to complete multiple college courses on his behalf.  The courses were credited toward Berhan’s completion of a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. Berhan allegedly received a degree and then applied for and received reimbursements and increases to his pay from Pittsburg Police Department.  Further, the indictment alleges Berhan “promoted Individual 1’s services” and “benefited from payments received by Individual 1 in furtherance of the scheme.”  The indictment describes how five other members of the police departments retained Individual 1 to complete similar coursework from the university.  Each paid money to Individual 1, obtained a degree based on the fraudulent coursework, and applied for benefits including reimbursements and increases in pay from their law enforcement employer.

The second indictment charges two defendants with conspiring to distribute anabolic steroids.  The indictment describes how Officers Daniel Harris and Devon Wenger, both of the Antioch Police Department, allegedly conspired illegally to distribute the drugs to an unnamed customer.  The indictment also alleges that Harris possessed and attempted to possess the drugs, and that Wenger attempted to delete evidence of the scheme from his cellular phone prior to handing the phone over to law enforcement officers. 

The third indictment charges a single defendant, Timothy Allen Manly Williams (Manly), also then with the Antioch Police Department, with three charges—two involving alleged interference with a wiretap investigation and the third involving the illegal seizure and destruction of a telephone.  The indictment alleges that on March 23, 2021, Manly was assigned to a “wire room” where, pursuant to a court order, he was supposed to monitor communications between a target and others who contacted the target by telephone.  While monitoring the target, Manly allegedly used his personal cellphone, dialed a special code to ensure his number would not appear to others, and called a target of the investigation.  After dialing the number, Manly also designated his call to the target to be “non-pertinent” ensuring the 14-second conversation would not be recorded.  Manly also allegedly made entries on the wire logs to suggest that the call he made resulted in no answer and no audio.  The indictment further alleges that on May 6, 2021, Manly was on the scene when another officer deployed a police dog when arresting a person. Upon seeing a witness using a cellular telephone to record the aftermath of the incident, Manly allegedly seized the witness’s telephone and destroyed it.

The fourth indictment charges three Antioch police officers—Morteza Amiri, Eric Rombough, and Devon Wenger—with conspiracy against rights and deprivation of rights under color of law.  The 29-page indictment describes how the defendants allegedly communicated with each other and others about using and intending to use excessive force against individuals in and around Antioch.  The uses of excessive force included deployment of a K9, deployment of a 40mm “less lethal” launcher, and other unnecessary violence.  Further, the indictment alleges that the defendants deployed uses of force as “punishment” to subjects “beyond any punishment appropriately imposed by the criminal justice system,” and allegedly made repeated reference to or suggestion of violating the civil rights of their victims.  Examples in the indictment include the following:

  • On July 24, 2019, Amiri allegedly pulled over a bicyclist, identified as A.A., for failing to have lights on after dark.  The indictment alleges that “[i]n the course of apprehending A.A., Amiri punched him multiple times; K9 Purcy then bit A.A. in the arm, injuring him.”  Amiri then shared pictures of the victim’s wounds with other Antioch police officers who exchanged text messages including: “Yeah buddy good boy pursy,” “F[expletive] that turd,” and Amiri later stated “Detectives already called PRCS and got him a 45 day violation and we are gonna leave it at that so i don’t have to go to court for the bite. easy.”  In response to a question from another officer about what cut the dog’s face, Amiri responded, “that’s a piece of the suspect’s flesh lol.” 
  • On October 8, 2020, Amiri allegedly sent a text message identifying a transient living in Antioch identified as M.Z. stating “anyone that finds him gets code [a free meal or beverage].  This f[expletive] stole my mail and was trying to open accounts under my name.” Wenger responded “Lets beat his f[expletive] ass I’m down after work morty” According to the indictment, the recipients of Amiri’s message located M.Z. later that evening. Amiri then arrived on the scene, shoved M.Z. against a wall and threatened to kill him. The indictment also alleges that a few months later Amiri texted another group of officers in reference to M.Z., “few months ago, I tracked him down and dragged him to the back of a car to ‘discuss’ the matter,” and “putting a pistol in someone’s mouth and telling them to stop stealing isn’t illegal. . .  it’s an act of public service to prevent further victims of crimes” 
  • On May 5, 2021, Rombough accompanied other Antioch police officers who responded to a report that transients were living inside a privately-owned unit.  While responding, Rombough and another officer located a couple lying on a bed inside a room.  Rombough deployed a 40mm less lethal launcher at one of the persons on the bed, hitting them in the chest and knocking them off the bed. 
  • On August 24, 2021, Rombough accompanied other Antioch police officers as they executed a search warrant at a residence in Antioch.  Officers located a subject—identified as J.W.—inside a locked bedroom holding a video game controller while sitting on an air mattress, with a video game on a television screen.  J.W. removed a pair of headphones and raised his hands as officers, including Rombough, entered the room.  One officer took J.W.’s left arm to arrest him as four other officers surrounded J.W.  As the other officer held J.W.’s left arm on the bed, Rombough deployed the 40mm less lethal launcher at J.W., injuring him. 

The indictment describes several other incidents of excessive force as well as the collection and sharing of pictures to memorialize acts of violence and the collection by defendant Rombough of spent munitions to commemorate his deployment of the 40mm launcher. 

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The indictments charge the following defendants with crimes as follows:

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern California District

In addition, as part of any sentence following conviction, the court may order defendants to serve an additional term of supervised release to begin after a prison term as well as additional fines, and restitution, if appropriate.  Any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The case is being prosecuted by the Special Prosecutions Section and Oakland Branch of the United States Attorney’s Office. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the Office of the District Attorney of Contra Costa County.

Further Information:

Case #s:

23 CR 264 JSW










18 U.S.C. § 1349 – Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud (one count)

18 U.S.C. § 1343 – Wire Fraud (six counts)

18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1)(C) and 28 U.S.C. § 2461(c) – Forfeiture Allegation

23 CR 267 YGR




18 U.S.C. § 1519 – Destruction, Alteration, and Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations;

18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) – Obstruction of Official Proceedings;

18 U.S.C. § 242 – Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law

23 CR 268 HSG





21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), and (b)(1)(E)(i) – Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids;

21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), and (b)(1)(E)(i) – Attempted Possession with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids;

21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(E)(i) – Possession with Intent to Distribute Anabolic Steroids;

18 U.S.C. § 1519 – Destruction, Alteration, and Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations

21 U.S.C. § 853 – Forfeiture Allegation

23 CR 269 AMO






18 U.S.C. § 241 – Conspiracy Against Rights (one count)

18 U.S.C. § 242 – Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law (seven counts)

18 U.S.C. § 1519 – Destruction, Alteration, and Falsification of Records in Federal Investigations (one count)

A copy of this press release will be placed on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at

“Police officers promise to enforce laws for the protection of the public and to protect the rights of the accused,” said U.S. Attorney Ramsey. “That is the job.  The indictments describe officers who are alleged to have violated this oath. When this happens, the damage done to the public trust cannot easily be calculated.  This office will not rest until all persons who have engaged in this sort of behavior are apprehended and prosecuted.” 

“This case is one of the highest priorities for the San Francisco Field Office,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Tripp. “Law enforcement officers bear a tremendous responsibility to police our communities lawfully in keeping with the constitution, and we must always be true to that guiding principle. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the FBI agents, analysts, and law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly on this case and whose efforts culminated in the operations today.”

Report: FBI arrests Antioch, Pittsburg cops under investigation in Thursday morning raids

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

For possible “crimes of moral turpitude” following federal grand jury indictment; APOA, Mayor Thorpe issue statements, he calls it “a dark day in our city’s history”; task force set up in parking lot of John Muir Health Brentwood Outpatient Center

By Allen D. Payton

According to an exclusive report by the Mercury News, the Antioch and Pittsburg police officers were arrested by the FBI during raids, Thursday morning, August, 17, 2023. The officers have been under investigation by both the FBI and Contra Costa DA’s Office since early 2022. That followed an indictment issued by the Federal Grand Jury in San Francisco on Wednesday. The details of the indictment have yet to be revealed but are expected to during a press conference scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today.

FBI task force drew a map of homes in the John Muir Health – Brentwood parking lot in preparation for their raids on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. Source chose to remain anonymous

Task Force Set Up at John Muir Health in Brentwood

According to a source who chose to remain anonymous, the FBI task force set up in the parking lot of John Muir Health’s Brentwood Outpatient Center on Balfour Road near Highway 4. There were about 20 cars carrying agents, two riot vehicles, and a Life Flight helicopter on stand-by.

As previously reported, the investigation was for alleged “crimes of moral turpitude” defined as “conduct that shocks the public conscience or, which does not fall within the moral standards held by the community.”

The names of the officers and details of their alleged crimes were inadvertently revealed in a report issued by the DA’s Office, earlier this year, that was not properly redacted.

The officers are being investigated “for violations of the following federal offenses; Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(A), distribution, and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance; Section 843(b) illegal use of the mail in furtherance of narcotic trafficking; Title 18, USC, 1503 Obstruction of Justice; Section 846, attempt and conspiracy to commit the foregoing offenses; Section 241, Conspiracy for two or more persons to agree to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in the United States in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege; and Section 242, a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. The CCCDAO is investigating these officers for assault under the color of authority, bribery, embezzlement, possession of controlled substances (steroids) for sale, knowing or offering any false or forged instruments, possession, and sales of assault weapons, and attempt and conspiracy to commit the foregoing offenses. The CCCDAO is also reviewing whether any of the above listed individuals have violated Penal Code (PC) section 745, the Racial Justice Act, which prohibits the use of race, ethnicity, or national origin by a law enforcement officer in pursuit of a conviction or sentence.”

The names of the officers under investigation by the FBI and DA revealed in the improperly redacted report were included in the following information:

“On 03/22/2022, the Honorable Presiding Judge Rebecca C. Hardie, Judge of the Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County, signed a search warrant under seal authored by CCCDAO Senior Inspector Larry J. Wallace for the seizure and search of the following cellular telephones: Pittsburg Police Officer Willie Glasper, (redacted phone number); Pittsburg Police Officer Brauli Rodriguez Jalapa, (redacted phone number); Pittsburg Police Officer Ernesto Juan Mejia-Orozco, (redacted phone number); Pittsburg Police Officer James Robert Anderson, (redacted phone number); Antioch Police Officer Ben C. Padilla, (redacted phone number); Antioch Police Officer Eric Rombough, (redacted phone number); Antioch Police Officer Devon Wenger, (redacted phone number); and Antioch Police Officer Andrea Rodriguez, (redacted phone number). The search warrants and affidavits were signed under seal and filed with the Martinez Superior Court.

On 03/22/22, the Honorable Laurel Beeler, United States Magistrate, Northern District of California, signed a federal search warrant under seal authored by FBI Special Agent (SA) Thuy Zoback for the seizure of the following cellular telephones: Pittsburg Police Officer Armando Montalvo; Pittsburg Police Officer Patrick Berhan; (now former) Antioch Police Officer Timothy Manly Williams; Antioch Police Officer Morteza Amiri, Antioch Police Officer Nicholas Shipilov; Antioch Police Officer Eric Rombough; Antioch Police Officer Daniel Harris; and Antioch Police Officer Calvin Prieto. The purpose of the search warrants were to seize electronic communications; such as, but not limited to the following: records and communications indicating the possession, use, purchase, sale, distribution, transfer, theft, and/or concealment of controlled substances, including books, receipts, notes, ledgers, pay and owe sheets, correspondence, records noting price, quantity, date and times when controlled substances were purchased, possessed, transferred, distributed, sold or concealed.

On 03/23/2022, sworn law enforcement members of the CCCDAO and the FBI retrieved the above listed cellular telephones from the above listed sworn law enforcement members of the Pittsburg and Antioch Police Departments. Law enforcement members from the CCCDAO and the FBI downloaded/extracted electronic cellular data communications from the above listed cellular telephones. A thorough review of the electronic cellular data communications took place for the past year.”

However, which officers were arrested Thursday morning has not yet been confirmed. The Antioch officers have been on paid administrative leave since the beginning of the investigation.

Antioch Police Officers Association Issues Statement

The Antioch Police Officers APOA issued a brief statement posted on their Facebook page Thursday morning. It reads, “The APOA has learned that several of our current and former members have been indicted by the FBI at the culmination of their investigation into members of the Antioch and Pittsburg Police Departments. We are saddened to learn of what has happened and look forward to the legal process playing itself out. We are committed to still providing quality service to the citizens of Antioch and also providing support for our members who are still working through this difficult time.

APOA Media Team”

Mayor Thorpe Says It’s “A Dark Day”

In a post on his campaign website, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe issued the following statement about the matter:

“Today is a dark day in our city’s history, as people trusted to uphold the law, allegedly breached that trust and were arrested by the FBI.

As our city absorbs this tragic news, we must come together as one. Today’s actions are the beginning of the end of a long and arduous process.

To those that have accused me and others of being anti-police for seeking to reform the Antioch Police Department, today’s arrests are demonstrative of the issues that have plagued the Antioch Police Department for decades.

Seeking to reform the Antioch Police Department is not anti-police, it is pro our residents, and pro officers that have served and continue to serve with honor.’

-Office of the Mayor”

Efforts to reach APOA’s attorney, Mike Rains, for comment were unsuccessful prior to publication time. Please check back later for any updates to this report.

Young Antioch man charged with reckless driving, felony hit and run

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023
The hit and run suspect’s car struck another car, injuring two people and a fire hydrant in downtown Antioch early Sunday, August 6, 2023. Photo by Art Ray, Bay News Video.

Following sideshow at marina, early Sunday morning crash injured two people, one woman critically

Held on $191,000 bail; four previous arrests, three by Antioch PD

By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office

A 21-year-old Antioch man has been charged with a four-count complaint for reckless driving and a hit and run that injured two in the early morning hours of August 6th following a sideshow in Antioch. (See related article)

Chase Allen Cancilla (born 4/17/02) faces two felony counts of reckless driving on a highway that caused injuries and enhancements of inflicting great bodily harm to others. Additionally, Cancilla faces a felony hit and run charge that resulted in the serious injury of another, and a misdemeanor for operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s license.

A woman was critically injured by the hit and run suspect in Antioch Sunday morning, Aug. 6, 2023. Source: KTVU FOX2 video screenshot.

Antioch Police received reports of a sideshow taking place at the Marina Plaza around 2:50 am on August 6th. Authorities say a vehicle that Cancilla was driving left the Marina Plaza at a high rate of speed on L Street — and shortly thereafter crashed into another vehicle at West 9th and G Streets. The collision injured two people, one of whom was seriously injured. Cancilla fled on foot after the crash, but an officer was able to apprehend him. (See KTVU FOX2 news report)

He was arrested and booked into the West County Detention Facility and was arraigned today in court with a bail amount set at $191,000.

Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said, “Sideshows present many risks to community safety, endangering those who are involved and the public at large. The District Attorney’s Office will continue to be vigilant in prosecuting offenses stemming from sideshows under California law.”

According to, the 6’2”, 250 lb. Cancilla has been arrested four times previously dating back to 2021, three times by Antioch PD, once by Alameda County Sheriff’s Office including for DUI, driving without a license and failure to appear. According to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office as of Wednesday, August 9, he was still in custody.

Case No. 04-23-01348 | The People of the State of California v. Cancilla, Chase Allen

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

Juvenile survivor of human trafficking rescued, two suspects arrested

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

Multi-agency Operation Cross Country conducts three efforts, investigating four other cases

Under leadership of organization with office in Antioch

By Ted Asregadoo, PIO, Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office

Law enforcement partners with the Contra Costa Human Trafficking Task Force arrested two suspected human traffickers and recovered one juvenile victim in a nationwide effort to apprehend human traffickers and provide services to victims.

As part of Operation Cross Country, task force partners and local FBI personnel jointly conducted three separate anti-human trafficking operations throughout Contra Costa County from July 19th through 30th, 2023. These joint efforts led to the arrest of a 33-year-old male resident of Sacramento and a 24-year-old male resident of Oakland, and the identification of nine survivors of human trafficking – including one juvenile. Additionally, the FBI and task force partners are still investigating four other cases in Contra Costa County. All victims identified through these operations met with specialized human trafficking victim advocates immediately upon contact and were offered a range of services and support.

“These outcomes demonstrate the positive results that can be achieved from collaboration between law enforcement and community partners to address the harm caused by human trafficking and deliver justice to victims,” noted District Attorney Diana Becton.

The suspects were arrested or cited on one or more of the following human trafficking or human trafficking-related offenses: sex trafficking of a minor, supervising, aiding, or recruiting a prostitute, and violating a protective order [PC236.1(c), PC653.23, and PC166(a4]. The ongoing investigations in these cases center on these charges as well as pimping, pandering, and adult trafficking [PC266h, PC266i, and PC236.1(b)].

Task Force Co-chair and Executive Director of Community Violence Solutions, Cynthia Peterson, highlighted that “the partnership among Contra Costa’s task force members in combatting human trafficking ensures a coordinated, trauma-informed response focused on our shared goals of empowering and providing comprehensive services and support to victims.”

Participating agencies included, in alphabetical order:

• Community Violence Solutions

• Concord Police Department

• Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office (CCCDA)

• Contra Costa County Probation Department

• Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department

• Federal Bureau of Investigations

• Hercules Police Department

• Homeland Security Investigations

• International Rescue Committee

• Northern California Regional Intelligence Center

• Pittsburg Police Department

• Pleasant Hill Police Department

• Richmond Police Department

The Contra Costa Human Trafficking Task Force is co-led by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and Community Violence Solutions, a community-based 24-hour service provider for survivors of sexual assault and human trafficking.

Founded in 2018, the Task Force envisions a community free of human trafficking where survivors thrive. It aims to achieve this by encouraging self-sufficiency and empowerment through the provision of survivor-centered, culturally responsive advocacy and services; striving for exploiter accountability through prosecution, education, civil remedies, and restorative practices; educating task force members and the community; and harnessing data to guide these efforts.

Anyone with information on suspected human trafficking (sex or labor) or related crimes is encouraged to make a report to your local law enforcement agency or the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Tip Line (925) 957-8658.

California clears largest cache of criminal records in U.S. history

Friday, July 7th, 2023

More than 11 million arrest and conviction records automatically cleared including old arrests that never turned into charges and provides relief to people who completed all conditions of their sentence

Due to legislation pioneered by Los Angeles DA George Gascón

By Max Szabo, Prosecutors Alliance of California

SACRAMENTONew data from the California Department of Justice (CAL DOJ) indicates that 11,164,458 records of arrest and conviction were automatically cleared between July 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022 pursuant to Assembly Bill 1076. The historic reform automated a process that individuals were already entitled to but had to seek out through an arduous process. AB 1076 requires CAL DOJ to automatically clear old arrests that never turned into charges and provides relief to people who completed all the conditions of their sentence, thereby expanding education, employment and housing opportunities for countless Californians.

“People who were arrested or convicted of low-level crimes and did what was asked of them are entitled to a second chance under the law, but bureaucratic barriers kept them in a paper prison,” said Cristine DeBerry, Founder and Executive Director of the Prosecutors Alliance of California.  “That wasn’t just unfair, it was unsafe, as a criminal record hangs over people, hampering their access to employment and housing opportunities, primary factors that drive recidivism. The system had taken away hope and opportunity, but commonsense and technology enabled one of the most important reforms in years.” 

The automated record clearance is due to a 2019 law, Assembly Bill 1076, which was authored by Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by then-San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón.  The legislation mandated that the state Department of Justice automatically clear records of arrests that did not result in a conviction after the statute of limitations had passed as well as convictions involving probation and jail once an offender’s sentence was completed. Individuals sentenced to prison and anyone who had to register as a sex offender or who violated their probation is not eligible.  The record clearance largely benefits individuals who had committed drugs or property crimes.

“It’s a vicious cycle, as communities of color are more likely to be arrested, they are therefore more likely to have a record that includes an arrest or conviction, and yet they were less likely to be aware that they were entitled to relief,” said LA County District Attorney George Gascón.  “These were unnecessary barriers that make it more difficult to successfully reenter and break the cycle by limiting access to jobs, education and housing.  Breaking down these barriers makes our system more just and our communities more safe.”

During the appropriations process that bill was limited to prospective arrests and convictions.  However, a subsequent effort in 2021, AB 1038, authored again by Assemblymember Ting, and sponsored by the Prosecutors Alliance of California, made the record clearance provided under AB 1076 retroactive.  That bill took effect July 1, 2023.  The newly released DOJ data indicates that the relief granted thus far was pursuant to AB 1076, the initial authorizing legislation only, suggesting that the expanded eligibility profile now in effect under AB 1038 will result in the clearance of millions of additional records.  

Prior to the automated record clearance, 8 million California residents had criminal convictions on their records that hampered their ability to find work and housing, secure public benefits, or even get admitted to college.  Studies indicate approximately two million of them were eligible for record clearance. Millions more have old arrests on their record that never resulted in a conviction but, remain as obstacles to employment.  

Under the law arrests that didn’t result in a conviction may be cleared. Convictions that carry probation or jail time are also eligible for record clearance after the individual completes all the terms and conditions of their sentence. Prior to AB 1076, however, this required individuals to be aware of their eligibility and to retain an attorney to proactively file the necessary petition.  As a result, millions of Californians have been entitled to relief for years that they never realized because they had to jump through hoops to get it. In fact, nationally, only 6.5% of eligible people have been estimated to obtain record clearance within five years of eligibility. With more affluent communities more able to afford a private attorney, this bureaucracy disproportionately impacted socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and communities of color in particular.

Nearly 90% of employers, 80% of landlords, and 60% of colleges screen applicants’ criminal records.  According to a 2012 study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, many prospective employees and housing applicants are rejected solely based on having an arrest record on file.  Studies also show people with unsealed arrest records have a substantially increased chance of living in poverty, earning lower wages, with fewer educational opportunities.

The concept for the legislation grew out of DA Gascón’s effort to clear old cannabis convictions that were eligible for clearance pursuant to Proposition 64.  That effort has now been adopted by prosecutors’ offices across the nation.  Notably, the algorithm that enabled automated record clearance pursuant to AB 1076–much like the cannabis clearance effort–would not be possible without the help and support of Code For America. Research by the California Policy Lab of the University of California provided supporting evidence regarding the feasibility of large-scale record clearance automation, as well as its enormous potential impact on the lives of Californians.  Assemblymember Phil Ting has the sincere gratitude of the Prosecutors Alliance for leading the historic initiative and seeing that all eligible and impacted Californians would obtain the relief to which they are entitled.  

The Prosecutors Alliance of California is fiscally sponsored by Tides Advocacy, a social welfare organization. Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton is a founding member. For more information about the Prosecutors Alliance go to and keep up with our work on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.