Crime - Sacto 911

Yuba City police put second officer on leave in drug case

Yuba City police officials announced Thursday that a second officer has been placed on paid administrative because of a possible connection with the federal Department of Homeland Security’s investigation of an alleged drug trafficking scheme.

At this point, this officer’s involvement, if any, is unclear, and police said they are not releasing the officer’s name because he has not been named as a suspect in the Department of Homeland Security’s investigation.

“Standard protocol under these circumstances, as well as an abundance of caution, led us to this decision,” officials said in a Police Department news release.

Thursday’s action follows Wednesday’s arrest Officer Harminder Phagura, 35, based on a federal criminal complaint. The complaint accuses Harminder Phagura and Gursharan Phagura, 39, of conspiring to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and use of a communication facility in narcotics trafficking activity. Federal authorities said the two men are believed to be related to one another.

The complaint alleges that Harminder Phagura was Gursharan Phagura’s “law enforcement friend,” who aided narcotics transactions by intercepting radio communications used by federal law enforcement agents and warning of the presence of other law enforcement officers.

Investigators Wednesday executed search warrants at three locations tied to Harminder and Gusharan Phagura, including two residences in Yuba City and a home in Roseville. Police officials said Harminder Phagura began working for the Yuba City Police Department as a reserve officer in 2010 and became a regular officer in 2012.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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