Was another Desert Hot Springs police officer let go without criminal charges after alleged illegal activity was uncovered?
That’s the new questions right now in a continuing NewsChannel 3 investigation.
A report obtained by NewsChannel 3 has revealed that a former police officer, Marco Anthony Zazueta, was not only working for Desert Hot Springs. He was also allegedly working with the Sinaloa Cowboys, a Mexican drug cartel.
The Internal Affairs report describes in detail how the cartel infiltrated the DHS police force in 2003.
It began in 2001 when dogs disappeared from the Desert Hot Springs Animal Shelter. Zazueta worked there.
A lawsuit filed by animal rights activist Al Stein and the “Save-A-Pet” owner Mary Sydnes claims dogs were being beaten and tortured to death.
Stein tells us the case was settled when he ran low on money to bring it to court.
But the Internal Affairs report alleges Zazueta was not only torturing dogs but also doping them with drugs and selling them to fighting rings run by a Mexican cartel.
An informant who wanted to keep his/her identity secret confirms the allegations.
“Anthony is known in the fighting world as the supplier because he supplies the drugs,” the informant tells NewsChannel 3. “He also injects the dogs with meth before they go into the ring.”
The person adds the lawsuit alleging torture is true and that more went on inside the DHS Animal Shelter.
Zazueta was transferred to the front desk of the police station.
There, he had access to police files which were later reported missing.
He had access to drugs in the evidence room which are also reported missing.
He also had access to private information of thousand of Desert Hot Springs residents and allegedly has connections deep in city hall.
A separate Internal Affairs investigation points to former officer Matt Denney as the source of the drugs from the evidence room.
Despite the testimony of several people in the report, Zazueta was never arrested. Former DHS police Chief Roy Hill let him go.
We called former chief Roy Hill multiple times, but our calls were not returned.
In recent interviews with NewsChannel 3 hill denies any wrongdoing and says that he thoroughly investigated any alleged crimes by officers on the force.
One of those alleged wrongdoings involved former officer Jacques Million. He was investigated in a child molestation sting but cut a deal with Hill and was let go rather than prosecuted.