Keith Foster blames his family for getting involved in drug dealing and losing his job as deputy chief of the Fresno Police Department, according to a trial brief filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Fresno.
The brief divulges new information about the evidence against Foster, the former No. 2 man for Police Chief Jerry Dyer, and his co-defendants. It also suggests that Foster would have used his connections within the police department to protect one of his nephews who was caught with six pounds of marijuana.
The 15-page brief, filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Duce Rice, gives details about what Foster said to an FBI agent after his arrest in March 2015.
A federal indictment charges Foster with participating in three separate conspiracies involving two of his nephews and their friends to distribute heroin, oxycodone pills and marijuana.
So far, four defendants, including Foster’s nephew, Denny Foster, have accepted plea agreements. Keith Foster, his nephew Randy Flowers, and Ricky Reynolds are scheduled to stand trial in federal court on May 9. They have pleaded not guilty.
Keith Foster resigned on April 3, 2015, one week after his arrest on drug charges.
The case against Foster and the co-defendants is the product of federal wiretaps and extensive undercover surveillance. Monday, federal prosecutors finalized a stipulation in which Foster’s attorney, E. Marshall Hodgkins, agreed that the wiretaps in which Foster talks about drugs are authentic and admissible as evidence. Hodgkins said he agreed to the stipulation because portions of the secret recordings show Foster is innocent.
On Monday, Hodgkins declined to reveal Foster’s defense to the charges.
Foster is charged with conspiring with Flowers to distribute oxycodone, a prescription painkiller that is addictive. Foster and Flowers also are charged individually in four separate counts to distribute or possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone. Flowers is further charged with being a felon in possession of three firearms.
Prosecutors contend Foster sold hundreds of the pills to Flowers over a four month-period beginning in December 2014.
The trial brief says Foster told an FBI agent that “he had let Jerry Dyer down, (that) he was next in line to be the police chief, and he just wanted to talk to Jerry Dyer.”
The brief gives this account of Foster’s arrest:
On March 26, 2015, Foster went to Flowers’ home with 100 oxycodone pills that he had picked up from pharmacy the day before. As Foster drove away from the residence, federal agents stopped and arrested him. In his BMW, the agents found $1,300 in cash and a prescription bottle with his name on it that contained two oxycondone pills.
At Foster’s home, agents found an additional $9,000 in cash and empty oxycodone prescription bottles in a safe.
Flowers also was arrested and his home was searched. Agents found 98 oxycodone pills, more than $10,000 in cash, and four firearms.
The next day, Foster was headed to the federal courthouse with FBI Agent Daniel Harkness for his first court appearance. While in the car, Foster spontaneously blurted out “his family got him into this,” the brief says.
Foster also said “he had let his boys down and the community down.” In addition, the brief says, Foster said “he had let Jerry Dyer down, (that) he was next in line to be the police chief, and he just wanted to talk to Jerry Dyer.”
Foster resigned on April 3, 2015, one week after his arrest.
The indictment also charges Foster with conspiring with Guzman to distribute heroin. Foster also is charged with conspiring with Reynolds, Sarah Ybarra, Jennifer Donabedian and Denny Foster to distribute marijuana. Reynolds is separately charged with manufacturing marijuana. Each defendant also is charged with at least one count of using a cellphone in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
The trial brief says Keith Foster conspired with Guzman from Dec. 23, 2014 to Feb. 2, 2015, to obtain an ounce of heroin. (Guzman was sentenced in October last year to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring with Foster to sell heroin, court records say.)
The brief gives this account:.
During a telephone call, Foster asks Guzman if he remembered “what we talked about … uh, the black.” Guzman says the price will be about “a rack for the best” and “we’re talking about some China white though.”
Foster then admonishes Guzman for revealing “so much detail on the phone.”
Keith Foster, who once oversaw patrol operations for the entire city, faces at least 25 years in prison and stiff fines if convicted at trial.
Regarding the distribution of marijuana, the brief gives this account:
Beginning in July 2014, Denny Foster frequently traveling to Shasta Lake to purchase marijuana from Reynolds. While Denny Foster was in Shasta Lake, Keith Foster called him on Dec. 6, 2014, and asked him if he was “going to get more units next week.” Units is code for pounds of marijuana, prosecutors contend.
When Denny Foster told Keith Foster he would need to deposit money into Denny Foster’s bank account, Keith Foster told him: “I don’t like going to them banks.”
On Jan. 4, 2015, the California Highway Patrol stopped Denny Foster in Merced County after a trip to Reynolds’ home to get marijuana. “Denny Foster admitted to the CHP officer that he had marijuana in the trunk of his vehicle.,” the brief says, noting that six pounds of marijuana was found in a cooler in the trunk.
A woman in Denny Foster’s car called Keith Foster after Denny Foster was arrested. The brief says Keith Foster told her that “he could have provided cover” for Denny Foster if he had known about the trip ahead of time. Keith Foster said he would have called his “narc guys,” the brief says.
In addition to Guzman, Denny Foster, Ybarra and Donabedian have accepted plea deals. In November 2015, Ybarra, who is Donabedian’s friend, was sentenced to a year in prison for mailing marijuana through a package-delivery company. In December Donabedian, who is Denny Foster’s girlfriend, was sentenced to a year of probation and 100 hours of community service. Denny Foster, who has yet to be sentenced, faces up to 57 months, or nearly five years, in prison.
Prosecutors say Keith Foster, who once oversaw patrol operations for the entire city, faces at least 25 years in prison and stiff fines if convicted at trial. Foster, 53, has rejected a plea agreement that would have resulted in 46 months, or nearly four years in prison, his lawyer said.