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Feds keep focus on Foster in drug case still nowhere close to courtroom

GeorgeByline

The first anniversary of the Keith Foster bombshell came and went with nary a peep of public interest.

And apparently only heaven knows when the Foster case will regain the limelight.

E. Marshall Hodgkins, lawyer for the former Fresno deputy police chief, said he is still working his way through nearly 20,000 pages of discovery and about six months of wiretaps.

Until then, the Foster trial remains on the drawing board.

Assuming, of course, the Foster team and federal authorities don’t strike a deal. Hodgkins told me he’s heard through the grapevine that other defendants in the Foster case have offers on the table.

But “they have not made Marshall Hodgkins, attorney of record for Keith Foster, an offer,” Hodgkins said.

Foster and several others were arrested on March 26, 2015 on federal drug charges. The complaint accuses him of conspiracy to distribute or possess oxycodone, heroin and marijuana.

Foster was in federal court on March 27, 2015, where he pleaded not guilty. Five other alleged co-conspirators were in court with him.

Foster later resigned from the Police Department. He is allowed to remain free as legal events unfold.

Needless to say, the Foster arrest stunned Fresno. But Hodgkins on Monday, a year and two days after the arrest, said he has no idea when a trial might begin. He said several status conferences are scheduled for the near future.

Hodgkins emphasized two points.

The first concerns the Feds’ moniker for the alleged group of drug dealers: The Foster DTO.

“DTO” stands for Drug Trafficking Organization.

Hodgkins said the Foster in that moniker refers to Iran Dennis “Denny” Foster, not Keith Foster. Denny Foster is a nephew of the former deputy chief.

Keith Foster “was not the kingpin,” Hodgkins said. “The issue for me is whether Keith was involved.”

Hodgkins’ second key point concerns all those rumored offers from federal officials that seem to land everywhere but in front of Keith Foster.

“I think they’re clearing the defense table,” Hodgkins said.

I asked if the feds are planning a high-profile trial with Keith Foster and, by extension, the Fresno Police Department all alone in the spotlight.

Hodgkins referred me back to what he’d already said.

Chief Jerry Dyer’s department once had four deputy chiefs, but now is down to just two. Dyer in the next few months is expected to announce a major restructuring of the department’s top management.

Some three months after the Foster arrest, Police Auditor Rick Rasmussen issued a report that included recommendations to improve the Police Department’s hiring and promotion practices. Rasmussen acted in response to a request from Mayor Ashley Swearengin and City Manager Bruce Rudd.

George Hostetter
George Hostetter is The Sun’s Fresno Civic contributor – covering the City of Fresno, County of Fresno, and Fresno Council of Governments.

1 Comment

  1. Oh come on now…They’re just waiting for us to forget all about this and it will magically all just go away. Kind of like when Dyer raped a 16 year old in his early days with the Fresno Police Department.

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