Crime

Alleged Foster co-conspirators must stay in jail

•  Accused drug conspirator Fresno police Deputy Chief Keith Foster is free; co-conspirators Iran Dennis Foster and Rafael Guzman must stay in jail



•  The two men were found to be dangers to the community who may flee prosecution



•  Both have extensive criminal records



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Fresno police Deputy Chief Keith Foster is free while his federal drug case makes its way through the courts, but two of his alleged co-conspirators are not so fortunate.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Austin on Tuesday ruled that Iran Dennis “Denny” Foster, 44, and Rafael Guzman, 41, were a danger to the community who also may flee prosecution. Because of that, they must remain in the Fresno County Jail as the case progresses.

Dennis Foster, who is related to Keith Foster, is charged with conspiring to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, as well as shipping a package of marijuana to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Guzman is charged with conspiring with Keith Foster to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute heroin. The heroin charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and the marijuana charge carries a five-year maximum and a $250,000 fine.

Attorneys for both men said they had places to live and would wear ankle monitors. Dennis Foster has a job, and there were indications Guzman could find work. But prosecutor Melanie Alsworth said there was nothing either could offer the federal government that would satisfy concerns over community safety or fleeing prosecution.

Austin listened to arguments from Dennis Foster’s attorney, Roger Littman, before ruling. With Guzman — who has Bulldog gang ties and tattoos on his face — Austin immediately indicated he was leaning against releasing Guzman. An agument by Guzman’s attorney, Charles Lee, failed to sway him.

“The criminal history is of great concern to the court,” Austin said of Guzman.

Both men have extensive criminal histories.

Dennis Foster has several narcotics-related arrests and a conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. A gun was also found in a safe when he was arrested last week. In addition, Dennis Foster was arrested in Merced County in January for possession with intent to sell six pounds of marijuana.

“There are very serious issues here involving community safety,” Alsworth said of Dennis Foster.

Similar hearings are scheduled for alleged co-conspirators Randy Flowers on Wednesday and Sarah Ybarra on Thursday.

Flowers, 48, is charged with conspiring to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone. Ybarra, 37, is charged with conspiring to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and shipping a package of marijuana to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Keith Foster, 51, is charged with conspiracy to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone, heroin and marijuana.

A sixth alleged co-conspirator, Jennifer Donabedian, 35, is charged with conspiring to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute marijuana. Like Keith Foster, she is free from jail while the case works it way through the courts.

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