San Jose Cop Arrested in Connection with Gang Probe

UPDATE: An investigation into Vietnamese street gangs in San Jose expanded into a multi-state, multi-agency probe that yielded 23 arrests, loads of drugs and an alligator.

San Jose police held a press conference Wednesday afternoon, where Chief Eddie Garcia released photos of the suspects (posted below)—one of them a veteran SJPD officer. Six more suspects remain at large. During the course of the months-long probe into organized crime, Garcia said, police identified three suspects affiliated with Duong Café on Senter Road who conspired to bribe a San Jose cop.

He also released a list of items seized in the crackdown that culminated Tuesday. By way of 34 search warrants served in California and one in Louisiana, investigators catalogued the following evidence: 

  • Five handguns
  • 69 illegal gambling machines
  • Over $200,000 in cash
  • Body armor, jewelry, phones, computers and financial records
  • 4,000 ecstasy tablets
  • 300 Xanex pills
  • 200 molly capsules
  • Illegal steroids
  • Over 600 pounds of marijuana (420 pounds of which was seized by the Louisiana State Police en route from San Jose)
  • Several vehicles, including one with a hidden compartment stashed with $100,000 in cash
  • An alligator

The San Jose Police Department arrested one of their own Tuesday for allegedly leaking sensitive intel to a Vietnamese street gang.

Thirty-four-year-old Officer Derrick Antonio, a nine-year department veteran, was booked at Santa Clara County’s Main Jail on six felony counts, including unauthorized computer access and accessory after the fact. As of this morning, however, he was not in custody and has yet to be scheduled for an arraignment.

The arrest stemmed from a citywide crackdown on a Vietnamese street gang suspected of extortion, violence, drug dealing, public corruption and running illegal gambling rings. Gang members allegedly extorted owners of Vietnamese cafes, where police say they set up shop and where at least four unsolved murders took place over the past four years.

Police say the five-month investigation—dubbed Operation Gang of Thrones—culminated Tuesday with 33 search warrants and 21 arrests.

Antonio was placed on paid leave two months ago when allegations of criminal involvement first surfaced, authorities said.

San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia said he will release more information at a press conference later today. Joining him will be agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to Transparent California's public employee database, Antonio made $251,000 last year in salary and benefits, including $106,000 in base pay and $17,600 in overtime. His arrest came only a day after former correctional deputy, Timmy Tri, was charged with assaulting an inmate at the San Jose jail.

Allegations against the officers come at a time when both agencies—the SJPD and the Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the county’s two jails—have been struggling with low morale and staffing shortages.

This week, SJPD announced that it may redeploy 50 detectives and officers in special units to patrol as part of an emergency plan to put more cops on the streets. The units that would be hardest hit from the proposed reassignments would reportedly be the ones that investigate street crimes, gangs and sexual assault.

Source: San Jose Police Department

Source: San Jose Police Department

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

21 Comments

  1. Difficult for me to believe that a 9 year police veteran would be helping a gang :( SAD!

  2. Please…he did not actually “make” $251,000… at least not directly in his own pocket: that was the total cost of employing him including all “benefits” paid by the City like health care, contribution to retirement etc. It was public money spent on him, but not paid to him.

    • That’s already specified in the article. Note that it breaks down base pay and OT.

      • Then perhaps you should start establishing yourself as a credible journalist. Have pride in your profession and work. The other number as well as his pension number is irrelevant to the story. Heck he will never collect the portion that was retirement now that he will lose hist job and rightfully so. If the charges are true he is a disgrace and a POS. But on the same line journalists who skew the numbers and story to continue the slant of an entire profession are no better. Society is at a critical breaking point. Start taking some responsibility and show some pride in your ability as a reporter.

    • >Please…he did not actually “make” $251,000

      Sort of a false equivalency isn’t it? Either way he gets the money, and if he wants it now he just has to call JG Wentworth.

    • What’s the difference, Lynnie? It’s taxpayer money out of taxpayer pockets. So, if his base pay + OT was $123,600, then he received $123,400 in benefits paid for by the taxpayers. Who in the private sector gets benefits equal to their salary + OT? No word yet on what he received from the gang to violate his oath as a cop??

      • Think y’all missed the point of the issue. A SJPD officer belonged to a known gang and used his position to help know criminals who were his associates. Who gives a crap how much he bilked San Jose before his arrest! While you all wring your hands about public employee vs. Free market employee benefits, you only show your ignorance of the issue. The fact that he was a gang member working within the department leads one to question how many more officers are involved. Try to grasp the big picture.

    • Lynnie, what’s the difference? None, in my opinion. It doesn’t matter if the income is in a paycheck, or in the form of publicly paid for benefits. There are 100’s of thousands of citizens with no health care, retirement funds, etc. This officer should have known better.

    • $105,00.00 in base pay alone is NOT chump change! That’s a lot of money, even in Silicon Valley thats like income of three people that struggle everyday in their lives, not his. And that POS skated thru the system and his lilfe, scumbag.

  3. How is his pay relevant to the story? How is Timmy Tri’s arrest relevant to the story? How is redeployment relevant to the story?

    I’m okay with one paragraph and then saying something like this is breaking news and a news conference is forthcoming. Return for more information .

    It doesn’t make you less of a reporter if your story is short. No need to try to make it long. Size doesn’t always matter Jennifer.

  4. If the officer’s salary were relevant in conveying to the public the scope of his wrongdoing then we would expect to find it in the affidavit charging him criminally, something we can be quite certain is not there. Instead, what will be documented there will be the nature of his criminal conduct, his position as law enforcement officer, and an account of the evidence against him.

    Including impertinent information when reporting on real or suspected police misconduct is all the rage in the news media, a profession that has sunk to the bitchy lows that were once the domain of scandal sheets and the girls’ gym. So it comes as no surprise that Ms. Wadsworth, prompted by petty motivations of a type which she should be ashamed, went above and beyond the call of doody (the appropriate spelling) to not only include the officer’s base pay and overtime pay, but to throw gasoline on the fire by mistakenly adding to his total the sum of $127,400.

    Pardon me for not being moved beyond my ability to reason by the information supplied by Transparent California, but it is all but a certainty that the officer in question will never receive or in any way benefit from the biggest chunk of that $127,400, because the only way to do so is to earn a retirement, something he’ll have no chance to do.

    So what does that mean? If he received that sum in salary and compensation as claimed, why can’t he have it? And if he can’t have it, who gets it? The answer to the former is: he didn’t receive it, it was invested in a fund for all retirees. The answer to the latter is: a long list of future retirees, whose identities can only be known after they’ve earned their retirement. But hell, why wait for their names, let’s just hate them now.

    Are you now getting an idea of just how stupid it is to throw around figures like that, especially for no other reason than to promote animosity toward police officers? Even if it remains unembarrassed by its juvenile reporting antics, doesn’t the staff at SJI have an interest in establishing its own credibility?

  5. I’m not much interested in what this guy make from the department, how many donuts does it take to buy a crooked cop? How much does it cost to buy favors from a crooked politician?

    Crummy public servants are bad enough, why do we keep election and appointing these creeps to public office.
    I don’t give a rip who’s party, union, or department they belong to, there is no hole in hell deep enough to put the criminal public servants into when they are caught, tried and convicted. I’ll put a lying reporter in the next hole over!

  6. Blew his career. So sad that something like this would even happen.

    • it boggles my mnd that a guy that makes over a $100k a year would even consider this situation? His employment was long term versus a quick pay-off by organized crime? that should immediately show you that SJPD does not employ people with much brains at all? It really shows you their desperation that they will hire ANYBODY!

  7. The confiscated alligator is hanging out at the animal shelter on Monterey Rd.

  8. Jennifer, what ever you are getting paid to masquerade as a journalist, you are extremely overpaid.