A reserve Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy and another man have been charged with conspiring to plant heroin on a woman to whom the deputy owed money, authorities said Thursday.
The deputy, Donald Ernestmeyer, 36, and Edward Kazarian, 43, both of the Santa Clarita Valley, were charged April 19 with conspiracy to commit an act injurious to the public, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Craig R. Richman said.
Richman said the suspects were arrested by Los Angeles police before the plan was carried out. No heroin was seized.
"It was a conspiracy to plant heroin on a woman," Richman said. "They were going to set her up. My understanding is that they wanted to prevent her from harassing the reserve deputy."
Richman said the woman, whose name was not disclosed Thursday, had once worked for Ernestmeyer at an equipment-rental company he owned in the Santa Clarita Valley. She was planning to take legal action against him to collect a debt, he said.
Investigators suspect that Ernestmeyer and Kazarian planned to place an unknown amount of heroin in her possession and then notify authorities, hoping to keep the woman from pursuing the debt collection, Richman said.
Ernestmeyer, who worked in the Santa Claria Valley station, also was charged with fraudulent use of a computer printout. The reserve deputy had passed printouts from law enforcement computers to Kazarian, Richman said.
The printouts--containing names, addresses and other confidential police information--were found in Kazarian's possession when he was arrested in Sylmar during the investigation of the drug scheme, according to Richman.
"The arrests were the tip of the iceberg, and an investigation is ongoing," Richman said.
Richman said that police, tipped off about the drug plan earlier this month, arrested both suspects on April 14. Few other details were released because of the ongoing investigation and to protect others involved in the case, he said.
Ernestmeyer was relieved of duties on the night he was arrested.
Ernestmeyer was released on $75,000 bail and Kazarian was released on $50,000 bail.