PALMDALE – A Palmdale Sheriff’s deputy was arrested Monday on 11 felony counts, including sexual penetration under the color of authority, rape under fear or duress, and soliciting bribes from alleged victims.
Jose Rigaberto Sanchez was arrested at his home around 5:30 p.m. Monday and is being held in lieu of $1.4 million bail. The 28-year-old had been relieved of duty with pay since 2010 and was relieved of duty without pay on Monday.
The alleged offenses occurred while Sanchez was on duty in Palmdale, according to a press statement by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff’s officials said there was one alleged rape victim, and the rest of the charges stem from Sanchez trying to solicit bribes from individuals he was threatening to arrest.
Investigators with the Sheriff’s Department Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau (ICIB) launched a six-month investigation in 2010 after receiving a tip from an informant. The case was turned over to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in January of 2011.
Sanchez was a seven-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and was most recently assigned to patrol at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, according to the LASD press statement.
His next court date is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31, at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
There is no additional information at this time, and a booking photo will not be released, according to the LASD statement.
UPDATED: The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has released more details on the charges against the former Palmdale deputy. According to an LADA statement issued Tuesday (July 30):
“Sanchez was charged with soliciting a bribe from a female driver he pulled over in Palmdale while on duty on Sept. 22, 2010. Sanchez allegedly offered not to arrest her on an outstanding warrant in exchange for sex. Two nights later, he pulled over another female on suspicion of DUI and allegedly solicited a bribe in the form of sexual activity.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon with the Justice System Integrity Division. If convicted, [Sanchez] faces up to life in state prison.”