Ex-California Highway Patrol Officers Charged With Taking $35,000 in Bribes

Two former California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers have been charged with accepting $35,000 in bribes in exchange for falsifying documents to register exotic cars.

Jessie Anthony Carrillo, 49 and James Yao Kuo, 38, pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday.

They have been charged with one count each of conspiracy and three counts of accepting a bribe in connection to the alleged scheme, according to a statement by the California Attorney General's Office.

Kuo's attorney, Daniel V. Nixon, has denied the claims made against his client, telling The Associated Press in an email: "He flatly rejects the allegations made against him in the complaint and we expect to vigorously defend the case in court in the weeks ahead."

Carrillo's attorney Sam Tyre also denied any wrongdoing from his client, writing that the "truth will show Jessie has done nothing wrong and he is not guilty of any charges."

The Attorney General's Office said that the two former officers allegedly conspired in 2016 to "alter the Carfax and DMV documents of two 'gray market' vehicles," in exchange for a total of $35,000.

According to the Attorney General's Office, the "gray market" refers to vehicles that are imported into the U.S. from other countries.

"In many cases, it is illegal to drive these cars in California because they do not meet state safety and/or emission standards, and therefore, cannot be registered," the office wrote in the statement on Monday.

Kuo left the CHP in August 2020, while Carrillo stopped working for the department in January 2020, according to the AP. The department has not revealed why the pair left the force prior to the charges being filed against them.

Following an investigation by the CHP, the pair were initially charged in relation to the scheme by the California Department of Justice on January 19, and surrendered to CHP investigators six days later on January 25. They posted a bond of $25,000 each, according to NBC Los Angeles.

In a statement after the arraignment on Monday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta criticized the officers, writing: "CHP officers are charged with keeping our roads and the people of California safe and secure.

"Any law enforcement officer who abuses that authority for their own personal gain should be held accountable. Bribery is a serious crime, and there is no place for these alleged acts in California law enforcement."

Newsweek has contacted CHP, Nixon and Tyre for comment.

California Highway Patrol officers charged with bribery
The California Highway Patrol offices. Two former officers, Jessie Anthony Carrillo, 49 and James Yao Kuo, 38, were charged with one count each of conspiracy and three counts of accepting a bribe on Monday May 24. Google Maps