U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said Thursday's sentencing of former San Francisco police Officer Reynaldo Vargas marks "the final chapter in a very sad story" for the department.
Breyer accepted federal prosecutors' recommendation for lighter punishment in exchange for Vargas' cooperation in a federal corruption trial that's sending two of his former colleagues to prison for longer terms.
Vargas was sentenced to one year in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring with his onetime partner, Edmond Robles, and their supervisor, former Sgt. Ian Furminger, to steal property from suspects in 2009. Vargas pleaded guilty last October to charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs, distribution of marijuana, conspiracy to commit theft and theft, before the jury trial of the three officers began.
The drug charges stemmed from Vargas' decision to give a pound of marijuana to two informants, which he described when he testified for the prosecution in November.
"As wrong as this sounds, it was kind of an altruistic gesture," Vargas said on the stand. "I wanted to give them something to -- something they could use to make some money for themselves," Vargas said. "They were very down on their luck. My intent with it was ultimately it was just going to be destroyed. I thought that was kind of a waste. At least if they had it, they could do something with it. They could obviously sell it -- that was her expertise -- and make some money for themselves to get themselves off the street into a hotel room, eat, that sort of thing."