Jurors in Keith Foster’s federal drug-trafficking trial learned Friday that after the former deputy police chief was arrested in March 2015, his first request was to speak to Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
They also learned that federal agents found $9,000 in cash in Foster’s home, as wells as 10 guns, unlabeled pill bottles, and a prescription for testosterone and hypodermic needles.
On a ride to the courthouse for his arraignment on drug charges, Foster blurted out that “his family got him into this,” FBI special agent Daniel Harkness told the jury in U.S. District Court in Fresno.
“He appeared saddened, upset and disgraced,” Harkness said.
He appeared saddened, upset and disgraced.
FBI agent Daniel Harkness said of Keith Foster
According to Harkness, Foster said he let “his boys down, let the community down, let his children down, and let Jerry Dyer down.”
Foster said he he was next in line to be police chief, and talked about resigning, Harkness testified. Foster then said “he just wanted to talk to Jerry Dyer,” the special agent told the jury.
On the third day of testimony, prosecutors Melanie Alsworth and Duce Rice called FBI agents to testify about Foster’s last two days as Dyer’s second-in-command and apparent heir. Prosecutors contend Foster left work early to complete a drug deal with one of his nephews.
The case against Foster is built on wiretaps and surveillance of him by federal agents. The prosecution contends Foster was trafficking in marijuana, oxycodone and heroin. He is facing felony charges that could result in at least 25 years in prison and stiff fines if he is convicted. Six other defendants who were arrested with Foster – including two of his nephews – have all taken plea deals.
Foster’s attorney, E. Marshall Hodgkins, however, contends Foster was “deep undercover” conducting a drug investigation.
To refute the defense theory, prosecutors plan to call Fresno Deputy Police Chief Pat Farmer and Lt. Mike Brogdon to the witness stand on Tuesday, when the trial resumes in Judge Anthony Ishii’s courtroom.
So far, jurors have heard more than 30 wiretaps over three days in which prosecutors contend Keith Foster talked with co-defendant Rafael Guzman Jr. about buying heroin and discussed selling oxycodone to his nephew Randy Flowers. In other wiretaps, Foster talked to his nephew Denny Foster about buying marijuana.
Hodgkins, however, has told the jury that no one has witnessed Foster selling oxycodone pills to Flowers or saw Foster buying heroin from Guzman. He also said no one has seen him buying marijuana from Denny Foster.
The wiretaps revealed that Foster was making telephone calls to Flowers and Denny Foster during workday hours, and in one of them, Foster was heard saying he has friends in the Fresno Police Department narcotics unit who can help him.
On Friday, prosecutors played a wiretap in which Foster told Flowers: “What’s up Bulldog? It came through.” Foster made the telephone call in the late evening hours of March 25, 2015. Before making the call, Foster had already picked up a prescription of 100 oxycodone pills from a pharmacy at Shaw and West Avenues, FBI special agent Ray Stanley testified.
The next day, Foster got up early, went to the cleaners and then to work, FBI special agent Scott Sharp testified. Foster was at police headquarters about an hour before he went to Flowers’ home on Church Avenue near Hughes Avenue in southwest Fresno.
In a text message at 9:23 a.m., Foster told Flowers: “I’m on my way.”
Flowers’s home was under surveillance, Sharp said. He said Foster left Flowers’ home at 9:43 a.m.. He was arrested three minutes later during a traffic stop, Sharp said.
FBI special agent Joshua Ratzlaff testified he found two oxycodone pills and $1,300 in cash – all $100 bills – in Foster’s black 7 Series BMW. In addition, he found a receipt from the pharmacy, dated Jan. 27, 2015, for 100 oxycodone pills.
At Foster’s home on 10th Street near Clovis West High, Ratzlaff said he found $9,000 in cash in a safe in the garage, as well as guns, cell phones and a prescription receipt, dated Feb. 25, 2015, for 100 oxycodone pills. Ratzlaff said he also confiscated several unlabeled pill bottles, which is said are used in the drug trade so dealers can go undetected.
At Flowers’ home, FBI agent Ryan Demmon testified he found 98 oxycodone pills in an unlabeled pill bottle in the dining area. He said he found $10,200 – all in $100 bills – in an envelop in a hallway closet. In addition, he found a scale and several pill bottles containing different types of pills, four firearms and $300 in cash in bedroom dresser.
Prosecutors contend Foster went to Flowers’ home to sell him oxycodone pills because Ratzlaff and Demmon testified the pills found in Foster’s car and in Flowers’ home have the same markings. Prosecutors also contend the money found in Foster’s car and home were profits from drug dealing.
But Hodgkins has told the jury that Foster borrowed the money from Sgt. John Jensen to get him through a messy divorce. Hodgkins also said Foster never sold oxycodone pills to Flowers because Flowers had his own prescription for the narcotic.
To support the defense case, Hodgkins crossed examined Ratzlaff and Demmon. Ratzlaff testified he found in Foster’s safe a promissory note for a $15,000 loan that Foster received from a co-worker in late 2014. Demmon testified that in addition to the 98 oxycodone pills in Flowers’ home, he found another 28 oxycodone pills with similar markings.
In addition, Ratzlaff testified he found no scales or illegal drugs in Foster’s home. Demmon testified he found processed marijuana throughout Flowers’home as well as marijuana plants in the garage.
Court records say Foster, 53, rejected a plea agreement that would have resulted in 46 months, or nearly four years, in prison. Denny Foster, Flowers, Guzman, Jennifer Donabedian, Sarah Ybarra and Ricky Reynolds have accepted plea deals. Only Denny Foster had agreed to testify against Keith Foster, but it was revealed Friday by the prosecution that he won’t be testifying.