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    Whittier man, an ex-Inglewood cop, pleads guilty to federal cocaine charge
    • October 17, 2023

    SANTA ANA — A former Inglewood Police Department officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge of distributing cocaine.

    John Abel Baca, 47, of Whittier, who served as an Inglewood officer for 21 years, admitted that he distributed cocaine on two occasions. Sentencing was set for Feb. 5 in Santa Ana federal court.

    On April 29, 2021, Baca delivered cocaine to a witness cooperating with law enforcement. Baca then delivered 2.2 pounds of cocaine to the same cooperating witness during a meeting the following week in exchange for $22,000 in cash, according to his plea agreement.

    In February 2021, the witness informed the FBI that Baca previously had offered to sell 2.2 pounds of cocaine, 4.4 pounds of white heroin and an unlimited supply of black tar heroin. The informant reported that Baca claimed to have stolen drugs and cash during routine traffic stops he made while working with a drug task force, federal prosecutors said.

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    During a covertly recorded meeting in late April 2021, Baca provided a sample of the cocaine to the informant to provide to purported buyers. Several days later, Baca negotiated the price for 2.2 pounds of cocaine — $22,000 in cash — and then delivered a brick of cocaine to the informant’s workplace. Later the same day, Baca collected $22,000 from the cooperating witness, he admitted.

    In the plea agreement, Baca admitted that he abused his position of trust as a police officer, including by stealing drugs from the police department’s lock-up and reselling them.

    The charge of distribution of cocaine carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.

    ​ Orange County Register