|For Immediate Release
Case # 07CF4145
December 16, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
CHP OFFICER CONVICTED OF BREAKING INTO HEADQUARTERS EVIDENCE ROOM AND STEALING
64 KILOGRAMS OF COCAINE
SANTA ANA – A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer was convicted today of stealing 64 kilograms of cocaine after breaking into the evidence room at the CHP headquarters in Santa Ana. Joshua Wendall Blackburn, 33, Murrieta, pleaded guilty to the court to one felony count of possession for sale of cocaine, one felony count of transportation of cocaine, and one felony count of commercial burglary with a sentencing enhancement for possession of more than 40 kilograms of cocaine. He was sentenced to five years and eight months in state prison.
Blackburn was a 6-year veteran of the CHP and worked as an Office Training Coordinator. During the early morning hours of Dec. 21, 2007, Blackburn broke into the evidence room at the CHP headquarters in Santa Ana while on duty. He stole 64 kilograms of cocaine that was being held as evidence in a separate criminal case involving two defendants. Blackburn hid 62 kilograms of cocaine in a shed on his father’s property in Aguanga, Riverside County, CA. He hid the last two kilograms in the attic of his Murrieta home.
At approximately 4:00 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2007, officials at the CHP office discovered the break in their evidence locker room. There were signs of forced entry. The CHP immediately notified The Santa Ana Police Department, who asked the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) to head the investigation. OCDA investigators interviewed CHP officers who were on-duty between Dec. 20, 2007, and Dec. 21, 2007. Investigators contacted Blackburn for an interview. At 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2007, Blackburn spoke to investigators and disclosed the location of the hidden cocaine.
OCDA investigators recovered all of the stolen cocaine, which had a wholesale value of approximately $1 million. The original case involving the cocaine is still pending.
Assistant District Attorney Walt Schwarm of the Major Narcotics Unit prosecuted this case.