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Richmond police officer steals marijuana, likely will not face charges

Richmond police officer Joe Avila (right). (Kristopher Skinner/Contra Costa Times Staff File)
Richmond police officer Joe Avila (right). (Kristopher Skinner/Contra Costa Times Staff File)

A Richmond, CA. police officer found with marijuana in his home earlier this year after stealing evidence likely won’t be charged with a crime, authorities have said.

Veteran K-9 officer Joe Avila has been on paid administrative leave since September, pending an internal investigation, officials in the Richmond Police Department said.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has been investigating since the case came to its attention earlier this year but is not inclined to file charges, said Robin Lipetzky, the county’s chief public defender. According to Lipetzky, the decision likely stems from evidence not strong enough to produce a conviction.

Contra Costa Times reports that the officer picked up a package containing about five pounds of marijuana and then instead of taking it in as evidence, he took it home.

The incident was later discovered after another officer investigated Avila for failing to file 37 reports. One of those missing reports was from that day when he called dispatch about the incident but never followed through on it.

When asked about the marijuana, the officer stated that he used two pounds of it to train his K-9. While searching his home, police found marijuana.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a 30 year old journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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