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United States District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller sentenced John Gerald Poland, age 45, of South Lake Tahoe, today to 18 months in prison for one count of obstruction of an official proceeding. He was ordered to self-surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on November 6, 2013. Poland was an Officer with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced “Mr. Poland ended his career in law enforcement by abusing his position of trust at every turn,” “When faced with the consequences of his misdeeds, he then attempted to influence witnesses who were called to testify against him. Such behavior cannot be tolerated. Mr. Poland stands in contrast to the other outstanding men and women in law enforcement who conduct themselves with dedication and honor every single day.”
According to court documents, on June 29, 2011, Poland interfered with a federal investigation of a South Lake Tahoe gang member. Poland persuaded the gang member’s girlfriend to conceal and destroy evidence. In October and November 2011, Poland tampered with this witness in an investigation into his own conduct as well as the conduct of the gang member. Poland instructed another witness to conceal and destroy evidence rather than provide it to federal authorities. Poland admitted that he corruptly attempted to alter, destroy, mutilate, and conceal evidence material to an official proceeding.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Lake Tahoe Police Department, and the State of California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (SLEDNET Task Force). Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Rodriguez prosecuted the case.