A San Luis Obispo Police Department narcotics officer facing criminal allegations of perpetrating a scheme to acquire and sell drugs while on the local beat is fighting the charges against him.
In federal district court in Los Angeles on April 15, SLOPD officer Cory Pierce, 39, entered not guilty pleas to one felony charge of bribery and one felony charge of extortion.
Pierce remains on paid administrative leave from the city pending his criminal proceedings. He’s a six-year veteran of the department, and served on the Sheriff’s Department’s Gang and Drug Task Force.
In his indictment filed March 1, federal prosecutors allege Pierce cultivated two drug offenders as confidential informants but never reported their roles to the department. Instead, he allegedly used them to sell placebo drugs he pilfered from the department’s evidence locker in exchange for pain pills and heroin, according to an affidavit. He also allegedly stole drugs from a dealer during a traffic stop without making an arrest or reporting the incident to supervisors, and allegedly provided methamphetamine to his sources and kept them out of trouble with their probation officers.
According to an affidavit, FBI agents became involved after either the SLOPD or Sheriff’s Department received a tip about Pierce’s activities and handed the case over. The affidavit indicates Pierce’s informants were able to record allegedly incriminating conversations with Pierce during the three-week investigation.
He was arrested by federal agents on Feb. 5.
Neha Atul Mehta, Pierce’s court-appointed federal public defender, declined comment on April 16.
District Judge Margaret M. Morrow set Pierce’s trial date for May 10.