OC Sheriff’s Deputy Accused of More Egregious Misconduct

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Santa Ana, CA – In a motion to compel filed on Wednesday by Orange County Deputy Public Defender Tammy Nguyen, on behalf of her client Ace Kelley, she is seeking Brady material related to Orange County Sheriff’s Sgt. Matthew Leflore and his mishandling of evidence.

In the motion, it is alleged that Sgt. LeFlore’s misconduct in the current case “begins with a police report dated October 20, 2020.”

In the report, LeFlore wrote that he “collected and booked all of the evidence in this incident,” including “17.80 grams” of meth allegedly found in Mr. Kelley’s motel room.

On December 14, 2020, the Orange County DA filed a felony complaint against Kelley alleging he was in possession of a controlled substance for sale.

Sgt. LeFLore and Sgt. Arthur Tiscareno were assigned in October 2020 to the Sheriff’s Department South Narcotics detail.  They were conducting surveillance of a motel room in Buena Park believed to be occupied by Kelley.

According to a report, Sgt. LeFlore knocked and announced their presence on a probation search, they made entry and found Kelley attempting to conceal a small zipper pouch near the shower—at which point Kelley was detained and handcuffed.

LeFlore claimed he located, among other items, 3 baggies of suspected methamphetamine, 5 baggies of suspected heroin, 1 baggie of suspected fentanyl, 100 small empty baggies, and a working scale inside of the small black pouch located on the floor of the shower.

They also found two additional baggies of meth.

However, Nguyen writes, “The astonishing truth is that the methamphetamine was actually seized during a search of another motel room that same day, unconnected to this defendant.”

She continues, “The methamphetamine was booked, along with other evidence, in a case that would culminate in charges being filed in People v. Royal Baker.”

She writes two weeks later “that same methamphetamine was removed from Mr. Baker’s case, and booked into evidence in Mr. Kelley’s case.”

Moreover, the allegations of misconduct do not end there.

The public defender further alleges that Sgt. LeFlore along with Sgt. Arthur Tiscareno, also of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and potentially others, “subsequently conspired to hide from Mr. Kelley the truth about the movement of evidence into his case.”

To substantiate the claims, the public defender attaches a note written by a crime lab employee, who describes being directed to move the methamphetamine from Mr. Baker’s case into Mr. Kelley’s case on November 4, 2020—two weeks after the narcotics were seized.

According to the motion, “The movement of the methamphetamine would have logically been carried out at the direction of and in coordination with Sergeant Leflore and Sergeant Tiscareno. Sergeant Tiscareno then manipulated the Remedy Report to make it appear that the methamphetamine was timely booked into Mr. Kelley’s case on October 19, 2020.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department uses a system referred to as “remedy” to track when items of evidence are booked and by which officer.

But, in creating the remedy entry, the motion continues, “Sergeant Tiscareno made a revealing error. He listed himself as collecting and booking the evidence, when the incident report indicates that Sergeant LeFlore was responsible for both the collection and booking of the methamphetamine.”

The motion alleges the following:

1) LeFlore lied in his report when he claimed that he collected 17.8 grams of methamphetamine from  Kelley’s motel room;

2) Leflore lied in his report when he claimed that he booked 17 .8 grams of methamphetamine into evidence in Kelley’s case;

3) LeFlore and Tiscareno created a plan to move the 17.8 grams of methamphetamine from the evidence collected in Baker’s case into this case;

4) Leflore and Tiscareno conspired to hide their actions from Kelley, including their decision not to create a supplemental report that would have documented the transfer of evidence;

5) The Remedy Report for this case was manipulated to make it appear that the methamphetamine was booked into Mr. Kelley’s case on October 19, 2020, at 3:43 p.m., when the booking into this case could not have occurred earlier than November 4, 2020,  per the above Crime Lab entry; and

6) The Remedy Report System, which purports to document who collects and books evidence, and the time and date of when that booking occurs, is capable of being manipulated.

This is the second major allegation in the last few weeks against Sgt. LeFlore.

Public Defender Scott Sanders filed a motion recently in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of his client Brittany Shahbakhti seeking peace officer personnel records related to Deputy Sheriff Matthew LeFlore.

Sanders alleges that “in his capacity as the lead officer he committed acts of misconduct, which included writing a report containing false and misleading information.”

The focus of this motion is what is alleged to be the “multiple law violations and acts of moral turpitude committed by LeFlore in connection with his illegal eavesdropping of telephone calls from Taylor Camuferguson to his attorney Jon Andersen. The calls at issue were made in 2017, when Camuferguson was incarcerated at the Theo Lacy Facility.”

Sanders explained to the Vanguard, “The officer’s listening on the calls, which he gives away because he writes notes to make it appear that he can’t tell an attorney is on the line.” He said, “He’s listening to these particular calls because this lawyer filed a complaint against him.”

Sanders, “The calls reveal an unethical officer unmoved by the fact than an attorney both was on the call and had implored law enforcement during the call to stop listening.”

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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