A police officer and a former officer from California have been charged with trying to distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of marijuana in Virginia.
Alexandria police said 34-year-old Frederick Sayles, 38-year-old Gabriel Sepeda and 34-year-old David Flowers were arrested when they showed up to a drug transaction with 27 pounds of marijuana in their car. The drugs had a street value of about $635,000, authorities said.
Sayles is a police officer with the Selma Police Department in Selma, Calif., a small town near Fresno in central California. Sepeda is a former officer with that agency, and all three men are from the Fresno area.
Police said Tuesday they believe the three were planning to distribute the drugs in Virginia. The men were arrested Thursday in the Tysons Corner area after they showed up with the car full of drugs, authorities said.
"It was part of the buy bust," said Jody Donaldson, an Alexandria police spokesman. The men were arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, who were part of a task force investigating the narcotics operation with Alexandria police.
The men were in Northern Virginia as "part of the negotiations" to distribute the drugs, Donaldson said.
The three are charged with conspiracy to import marijuana and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Additional charges might be pending, police said.
Selma Police Chief Myron Dyck said Sayles had been a patrol officer for about six years. He said Sepeda left the force about two-and-a-half years ago, but he didn't know how long the officer had worked for the agency.
Dyck said his department was conducting an administrative investigation but declined to be more specific or say whether either officer had faced disciplinary issues in the past.
"Anytime something like this happens, you do some sort of investigation," he said.
Alexis Stackhouse, an attorney for Sepeda, said her client's case "should be given a chance to run its course through the system" and Sepeda "should be considered innocent until proven guilty."
Stackhouse said she didn't know when or for how long he worked for Selma police.
Michael Goode, the attorney listed in court records as representing Flowers, said he had not yet been notified that he was appointed to the case. David Kiyonaga, the attorney listed for Sayles, did not return a call for comment.
All three men are being held without bond at the Alexandria Adult Detention Center. Preliminary hearings for them are scheduled for May 21.