Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Two former police officers in California were spared prison time after they pleaded guilty to stealing drugs from evidence lockers and selling them on the street.
Logan August and Derrick Penney are former deputies for the Kern County Sheriff's Office who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana in May. The two men, who routinely worked in marijuana eradication operations while members of law enforcement, faced five years in federal prison. But on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O'Neill said he was so moved by the remorse shown by the criminals that he decided prison time was not justified, reported the Bakersfield Californian.
Instead of prison, August and Penney will get three years of probation. Penney will also have to do 250 hours of community service and August, who was more involved in the drug dealing operation, will have to do 1,500 hours.
O'Neill said the cooperation shown by August and Penney to investigators after their operation was uncovered and the apparent toll the case has taken on their family contributed to his decision.
"Being the wife of a law enforcement officer is not easy," the judge told the men's wives,Tiffany August and Callie Penney. "The two of you have been incredible not to have gotten into the U-Haul and taken off. The both of you should be proud."
Throughout 2014, then-Kern County Sheriff's Office deputies August and Penney would get access to evidence lockers and steal marijuana they and fellow officers seized during drug investigations. They would then process it into "usable marijuana" before giving the drugs to a former confidential informant to sell and eventually split the profit.
The Department of Justice cited Penney as engaging in this routine once, but accused August of doing it 10 times, stealing more than 30 pounds of marijuana and taking home nearly $20,000. Penney is believed to have profited $1200.
In May, August published a video on Youtube titled "I AM SORRY!"
"I made a horrible decision," August said in the video. "It was nobody else's fault. Nobody influenced me to do it. I made that decision based on Satan playing games with me and making me feel like I was prideful and unable to go to family members for help."
Two other former officers involved with August in the drug-stealing and selling operation are Patrick Mara and Damacio Diaz, who are both currently serving 5-year sentences for trafficking methamphetamine.