Crime

Foster testified for marijuana doctor without Dyer’s knowledge

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Fresno police Deputy Chief Keith Foster testified on behalf of a Fresno medical marijuana doctor.

• The doctor was under investigation for improperly prescribing marijuana.

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Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said he didn’t know that Foster and a detective testified for the doctor.

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Fresno police Deputy Chief Keith Foster testified in front of a state medical board last year in support of a Fresno doctor known for writing medical marijuana prescriptions and acknowledged that he was one of the doctor’s patients.

A Fresno police detective, Brannon Kirkland, also testified in Dr. Diego Allende’s behalf, also admitting in his testimony that he was one of Allende’s patients.

The doctor-patient relationship is not clear, and it’s not known if Allende prescribed medicine for Foster, who is under arrest in a federal case alleging conspiracy to distribute marijuana, oxycodone and heroin. But, federal law enforcement officers have surveillance video showing Foster obtaining oxycodone at drive-thru pharmacies on more than one occasion. Neither Kirkland or Allende is implicated in the federal case.

Following Allende’s hearings, which were held in Fresno in December 2013 and on Feb. 11, 2014, one count against Allende for failing to perform a medical exam prior to providing a medical marijuana recommendation, falsifying medical records and other unprofessional conduct, was upheld. Two others were not sustained, including one involving an undercover Fresno County sheriff’s deputy. Allende’s license was suspended for 90 days and he was placed on probation for five years.

Foster testified that he worked with Allende “in his professional capacity, and is also one of (his) patients.”

“Foster confirmed that (Allende) has provided medical marijuana cards for use by narcotics detectives, and that the Police Department would not have been able to do its investigations of medical marijuana dispensaries without (Allende’s) assistance,” state documents show.

Foster added that Allende “does not condone the use of marijuana except for anything but legitimate medical purposes,” state documents say. “He believes that (Allende) does not turn a ‘blind eye’ to indiscriminate use of marijuana.”

In his testimony, Kirkland told state officials that he discovered a member of Allende’s staff had been issuing numerous medical marijuana prescriptions “behind Allende’s back.”

Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said Friday that the Police Department was unaware of Foster’s or Kirkland’s testimony.

“I am not familiar with that case or how or why Deputy Chief Foster was brought into that investigation,” Dyer said. “I have directed internal affairs to include this in an investigation. I am not aware of the doctor or what the circumstances were.”

Allende will not return to his office until April 6, an office receptionist said. A Twitter feed with a photo dated March 17 pronounced him “just married.”

Allende’s lawyer, Roger Nuttall, said he appealed the Osteopathic Medical Board’s decision. He said he has not spoken with Allende about the Foster investigation.

Nuttall confirmed that Foster and Kirkland testified on Allende’s behalf and that Allende was serving as a consultant to Fresno police. Allende’s practice is busy and medical marijuana is a small part of it, said Nuttall.

“Dr. Allende is not an advocate of the irresponsible use of marijuana,” he said.

Much of Allende’s practice is in holistic health, and medical marijuana is a “very small part of it,” Nuttall said.

He said the case that was sustained against Allende was “flawed,” which is why he is attempting to have the decision overturned.

“Dr. Allende is a very clean guy, he’s never had any trouble whatsoever,” Nuttall said. “This is one of the worst administrative investigations I’ve ever seen.”

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