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Part 22: Police Officer, City Employee Implicated In Dog Fighting

NewsChannel 3 has obtained a confidential informant’s letter detailing how dog fighting went unpunished in one valley city.

A second person has come forward saying that dog fighting often happened in Sky Valley and that one Desert Hot Springs police officer and another city employee not only let it happen – they supplied the dogs and the drugs.

Theinformantdetails in a letter how dogs were put in rings to fight to the death some years ago but went unpunished to this day.

They said the crime was coordinated out of a house on 3rd Street near Palm Drive in Desert Hot Springs.

Neighbors say the residents at the time moved away in hurry.

One former city employee, wishing to remain anonymous, said:

“The fighting starts here, but the ring starts here on 3rd Street. And they caravan over to Sky Valley on Sky Ridge. There’s a big building that they do it in.”

We found a fenced-off compound at the location matching the description – nobody was available to answer us.

The informant’s account continues with a question he posed to those running the dog fighting rings:

“When he asked why they weren’t worried about getting busted – they replied, there has never been any time they were bothered, the reason that there has never been a ‘bust’ in this town is because they have coverage, the ‘protection’ is involved with them in Desert Hot Springs, they don’t have to worry about PD.”

The dogs came from former service officer Marco Anthony Zazueta according to the informants.

An internal affairs investigation began – but was never acted upon.

Desert Hot Springs City Attorney Ruben Duran tells NewsChannel3 that Zazueta is currently on military duty in Iraq and denies the allegations against him.

The informant describes another discussion he had at the Sky Valley dog fighting ring:

“They told him that a lot of drugs they had that night were from former busts in DHS. He laughed at the informants expression and said that the big guys in thePD there always got their cut. The good drugs in the city busts never really got to the evidence room.”

NewsChannel3 uncovered police memos which describe how drug evidence was improperly handled – affecting several cases.

An internal affairs investigation into officer Matt Denney looked into allegations he was stealing methamphetamine from the police evidence room.

The former city employee adds, “There are people here in this department, there are things going on in this department here thatI didn’t trust. AndI didn’t want to end up someplace in the desert with a bullet in my back. So i’ve been doing this the last couple of years pretty quietly.”

City manager Rick Daniels tells us that “if any of the allegations are true – we want that purged from this department.”

Residents of Sky Valley we talked to haven’t heard of any dog fighting in their community recently.

KESQ News Team

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