A sergeant at Travis Air Force Base in Solano County is accused in Sacramento federal court of accepting bribes from suppliers of goods and materials for humanitarian aid while he was serving as a contract official in Afghanistan.
Tech Sgt. David Adal Turcios of the 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron is accused in a criminal complaint and supporting affidavit of receiving bribes from two Afghan interpreters at Bagram Airfield, the largest U. S. military installation in Afghanistan, in return for steering contracts for humanitarian assistance to companies with which the interpreters were associated. Turcios was at Bagram from November 2010 to November 2011.
In the complaint filed May 12, Turcios is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, receipt of bribes and gratuities by a public official and wire fraud. At that time, Turcios was serving at the Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy.
Turcios, 38, a 13-year-veteran of the Air Force, made his initial appearance in court Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund Brennan, who ordered him released without bail. The judge set a preliminary examination for Oct. 5.
Attempts to contact Turcios were unsuccessful. His attorney, Assistant Federal Defender Timothy Zindel, declined to comment Tuesday. An inquiry to Travis was referred to a public affairs officer at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations in Quantico, Va., which did not respond to contacts seeking comment.
In the affidavit attached to the criminal complaint, it is alleged that when Turcios’ replacement arrived at Bagram in the fall of 2011, he introduced the replacement to a man who worked at a jewelry store and functioned as an Afghan interpreter for American military personnel. Turcios allegedly told the replacement, who is not named in the affidavit, to contract through the interpreter, also not named, for goods and materials such as rice, flour, beans, clothes and tools, which were then distributed to Afghan schools and villages as needed.
“One day, while outside the office at the (humanitarian assistance) yard, Turcios told (his replacement) he had received $20,000 from (the interpreter) while he was at Bagram,” according to the affidavit signed by Robert Doherty, an agent with the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
More than two years later, on Dec. 10, 2013, Turcios told law enforcement agents interviewing him that he received $5,000 from one interpreter and discounted jewelry and two suit jackets from a second interpreter, from whom he attempted to obtain $3,500, but got only $500 after he returned to Travis, according to Doherty’s affidavit.
The affidavit recounts how Turcios nagged the interpreter via email, first for $3,500 the interpreter allegedly promised him before he left Bagram, and then for $2,500 the interpreter asked him to settle for as a compromise. In February 2013, 15 months after Turcios left Afghanistan, the interpreter wired $500 to a bank account at Travis maintained by the sergeant’s wife, Doherty says in the affidavit. The agent says the interpreter told Turcios in an email quoted in the affidavit that the interpreter was short on funds after paying $10,000 to Turcios’ successor.
Turcios’ replacement admitted to law enforcement agents that he received $10,000 from the interpreter in return for contracts issued to companies associated with the interpreter.
The humanitarian assistance yard at Bagram was one of several such operations run by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, according to the affidavit.
Denny Walsh: 916-321-1189