LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT
Thursday, September 16, 1999
In late March of 1998, the Department became aware of the possible theft of three kilos of cocaine from its Property Division. An immediate investigation was launched into the circumstances of the missing cocaine. At the direction of the Chief of Police, a task force of numerous detectives was formed to continue that investigation. In late August 1998, a Los Angeles Police Officer, Rafael Antonio Perez was arrested for removing the three kilos of narcotics from the Central Property Division at Parker Center using another officer’s name, allegedly for court purposes. His subsequent trial on those charges ended in a hung jury. The case was immediately re-filed by the District Attorney. The continuing investigation into the matter resulted in additional narcotics theft charges being filed against Perez. On September 8, 1999, Officer Perez entered into a plea agreement on those charges which has been sealed by the court.
As you will recall, back on August 25, Chief Parks stated in his news conference that the Department would leave no stone unturned in determining the scope of the thefts or whether any other individuals were involved in any criminal activity or administrative misconduct. Today Chief Parks is reporting that information has been developed which led the Task Force to investigate an officer involved shooting that occurred in late 1996 in the Rampart Area: at that time a 19 year old male, Javier Ovando was shot several times by Rampart officers after allegedly pointing a gun at the officers. Mr. Ovando sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized. Mr. Ovando was arrested for assault on police officers and was later convicted in Superior Court and sentenced to state prison.
The Task Force, in a joint effort with the District Attorney’s Special Investigation Division, developed new information regarding the accounts of the incident. Secure with this new information, the District Attorney’s Office is now obtaining a Writ of Habeas Corpus to immediate release Mr. Ovando from prison.
The investigation is on-going to determine if any additional issues need to be addressed.
For Release 4:00 pm PST
September , 1999