Crime & Justice

LAPD detective arrested for allegedly stealing money during drug bust

Police caution tape
Police caution tape
Photograh by Perfect Pose via Flickr Creative Commons

A Los Angeles police detective was arrested today for allegedly stealing money from a drug bust, according to department officials.

Detective Ramon Alvarez, a 25-year department veteran with the LAPD's elite gang and narcotics unit, was arrested Friday at a suspected drug location and was booked on suspicion of grand theft, Detective Agustin Villanueva said.

A fellow detective apparently thought that Alvarez removed an undisclosed amount of money from the location while serving an arrest warrant and notified a supervisor. That initiated a search of Alvarez's vehicle, which revealed money police officials believe belonged to a drug dealer.

"I am extremely disturbed and shocked by the arrest, but heartened by the actions of the detective who immediately reported what appeared to be criminal behavior," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement.

The labor union that represents police officers said that while the arrest was disturbing, everyone, including officers, retains the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Alvarez was booked at the Metropolitan Detention Center, where he is being held in lieu of $20,000. He was placed on immediate administrative leave.