Federal officials arrested a California police chief on Thursday for participating in multiple criminal conspiracies to distribute heroin, oxycodone, and marijuana.
Keith Foster, the 51-year-old deputy police chief of Fresno, California, was arrested following a year-long investigation conducted by the FBI and ATF, over which time they allege Foster made multiple references to distributing drugs with three other suspects.
The majority of the investigation centered around Foster’s interactions with 48-year-old Fresno resident Randy Flowers, who has a history of drug-related arrests in Fresno County.
Federal investigators began wiretapping Foster in November of last year and in December caught Foster telling Flowers he had “100 of those things”, which they figured to be oxycodone pills. Federal agents showed that Foster had picked up a prescription for 100 oxycodone pills at a local Rite-Aid minutes before that phone call, and drove to Flowers’ home immediately after the phone call, where he stayed briefly.
They believe that Foster conducted the same transaction with Flowers a month later, and also caught Foster discussing “China white” with another associate, known to be code for black tar heroin.
Foster is a 29-year-veteran of the Fresno Police Department and has been a deputy police chief since 2007, overseeing the patrol operations of the department’s four districts.
This isn’t the first time the Foster family has made the news for the wrong reasons; in 2012 Keith’s brother Patrick Foster, a correctional officer, was arrested after police alleged he was the getaway driver in an armed robbery.
Foster has been placed on paid administrative leave and stripped of his peace officer powers while an internal investigation takes place. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Foster’s arrest undercuts public trust in the department.
“This is a very sad day for the Fresno Police Department, the citizens of Fresno, and the law enforcement profession,” said Dyer. “The message I want to send to everyone, when we place this badge on our chest, it’s a badge of honor. There’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with it. It is important that we do everything we can to maintain and enhance the trust our citizens have in us.”