MAR 19 (FRESNO, Calif.) —A complaint has been filed in the Fresno branch of the United States District Court against Derik Carson Kumagai, 40, a Fresno Police Department detective assigned to the Vice Unit and Saykham Somphoune, 40, of Clovis, charging them with conspiracy, bribery, and extortion, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
"Prosecuting those who misuse their badge for personal gain is an important mission for the U.S. Department of Justice," said US Attorney Wagner. "I am grateful for the assistance of Chief Dyer and the leadership of his Department in this investigation."
According to court documents, detective Kumagai accepted a $20,000 bribe from an individual who was under investigation for marijuana trafficking (identified as Person Y). In return for the bribe payment, Kumagai and co-conspirator Somphoune promised Person Y that he would be signed up as a confidential informant for the Fresno PD. Somphoune is not a law enforcement officer.
In October and November 2013, Kumagai and Somphoune met with Person Y on several occasions and discussed the proposed bribe payment. On November 6, 2013, Person Y paid Kumagai approximately $20,000 cash. A few hours later, Person Y completed documents regarding work as a confidential informant for the Fresno Police Department.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorneys Grant B. Rabenn and Kevin P. Rooney are prosecuting the case.
If convicted of conspiracy, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted of bribery, they face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.