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Two former Los Angeles deputies accused of planting guns to justify marijuana arrests

Julio Cesar Martinez and Anthony Manuel Paez have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and altering evidence as a peace officer.

By Evan Bleier
Two former Los Angeles deputies accused of planting guns to justify marijuana arrests
Marijuana under grow lights (Gary C. Caskey/UPI) | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, April 24 (UPI) -- Two former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies are facing a number of charges after they allegedly planted guns inside a medical marijuana dispensary to justify the arrests of two men.

During the 2011 incident, Julio Cesar Martinez, 39, and Anthony Manuel Paez, 32, allegedly found one gun near a garbage can and another on a desk next to some ecstasy pills.

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The former deputies were investigated after video from inside the dispensary was determined to be "inconsistent" with their report.

“Paez opened a drawer and retrieved a handgun and placed it on a chair,” according to the complaint. “Paez crawled under the desk in the shop and disabled the video surveillance camera system of the location.”

Martinez and Paez have been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and altering evidence as a peace officer, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. Martinez was also charged with two felony counts of perjury.

If the former deputies are convicted, they face more than seven years in state prison.

One of the men from the dispensary, Johnny Yang, was sentenced to 180 days in jail, while charges against the other suspect, Antonio Rhodes, were eventually dismissed.

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