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Desi cop arrested in California for drug trafficking

Last updated on: April 16, 2015 12:20 IST

Police officer Harminder Phagura is busted for cocaine deals. Ritu Jha/ reports from California.

An Indian-American police officer was arrested on Wednesday, April 15, by federal agents for his alleged role in a cocaine trafficking scheme in Yuba City, California.

Harminder Phagura, 35, an officer with the Yuba City police department, was arrested based on a complaint filed by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

The complaint charges Phagura of conspiring to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute and use of a communication facility in narcotics trafficking activity.

Federal agents also arrested Gursharan Phagura, 39, of Yuba City. Both men made their initial appearance in a federal court on Wednesday afternoon before US Magistrate Judge Carolyn K Delaney.

Following the hearing, Harminder Phagura was released on a $100,000 (Rs 6.236 million) bond.

Gursharan Phagura remains in custody pending a detention hearing on Thursday. The case is being prosecuted by the US attorney's office for the eastern district of California.

The arrests are the latest development in a four year-long probe by Homeland Security agents targeting suspected cocaine trafficking by Gursharan Phagura.

Homeland Security agents working on the case allege that Gursharan Phagura was a key participant in a drug trafficking organisation which operates in the eastern district of California, and that he has contacts with more than one drug dealer.

The investigations show that last year, in March, during a recorded, in-person, conversation, Gursharan Phagura informed the confidential informant that Harminder Phagura was his 'law enforcement friend,' who aided the narcotics transactions by intercepting radio communications used by federal law enforcement agents and warning of the presence of other law enforcement officers.

Image: Officer Harminder Phagura was released on a $100,000 bond. Photograph: Yuba City police department.

Ritu Jha in California