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Ex-Cop Pleads No Contest to Extortion


A former LAPD motorcycle officer pleaded no contest Wednesday to participating in an extortion plot to steal $1 million from a Lakewood real estate broker, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Melvin Leon Boyd, 38, entered the plea to one count of extortion and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. In exchange, prosecutors dropped additional extortion, robbery and theft charges. Boyd could face from one year in County Jail to three years in state prison when he is sentenced June 6 in Superior Court.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman said he planned to ask Judge David Wesley to send Boyd to prison.

"A police officer with a gun on his belt who commits a crime should go to prison, regardless of the fact that he has no prior record," he said.

But Boyd's attorney, Bradley Brunon, said his client served eight years in the Marines and 12 years in the Los Angeles Police Department. Boyd should get the lighter sentence because of his record as a public servant, the lawyer said.

"He made what turned out to be an extraordinarily bad decision," Brunon said, adding that his client's involvement lasted only a few hours.

Boyd is one of six people charged in the case. He is the fourth to enter a plea of no contest. Two others--Walter Duarte and Jose Quinonez--are scheduled to go to trial Friday.

On May 24, 2001, Boyd posed as a detective while Terrayne Reginald Evans told the broker at the man's Lakewood office that he was being investigated for involvement in organized crime and threatened to arrest him if he did not pay them, Huntsman said. The men demanded a total of $1 million, the prosecutor said.

The real estate broker gave them $2,700 and an expensive watch and agreed to subsequent meetings to pay the rest. Boyd did not participate in other meetings.

The county Sheriff's Department launched an investigation after the broker called authorities and said he had been robbed. Charges were filed against four men and two women.

Evans pleaded no contest to extortion and to grand theft. Kristina Dillon and Milagro Santamaria pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of auto tampering, prosecutors said.

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