A Redding police corporal was arrested last week after authorities found a warehouse with marijuana, cocaine and nearly $60,000 in cash.
Cpl. Will Williams, 53, was one of three suspects arrested by the California Highway Patrol as part of the investigation. The other two were identified as Redding residents Heather Legault, 40, and Michael Gray, 39, according to a press release.
CHP Northern Division Chief Elizabeth Barkley said the investigation started after a citizen informed authorities of possible criminal activity in a warehouse in an unincorporated area of Shasta County.
An April 29 search of the warehouse turned up 138 pounds of processed marijuana, 332 marijuana plants, 30 grams of cocaine, two firearms and $59,000 in U.S. currency, according to a press release from the CHP.
Barkley did not discuss how exactly Williams is connected to the warehouse or how authorities knew of his alleged involvement.
No criminal charges have been filed against Williams at this point, according to Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. Bridgett said the case hasn’t yet been forwarded to prosecutors in her office by CHP for a determination of charges.
“When we do receive the case, it will be treated as all other cases, as the law applies equally to everyone,” Bridgett said.
Redding Police Chief Bill Schueller said Williams has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation by RPD’s professional standards unit. Schueller said Williams was booked into the Shasta County Jail on Wednesday (April 29).
“I am deeply disturbed by the arrest of Cpl. Will Williams for the cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale,” Schueller said. “This kind of criminal behavior, especially by a law enforcement officer sworn to uphold the law, cannot and will not be tolerated.”
Schueller said after learning of his arrest, he requested help with the investigation from federal authorities.
Any determination made about Williams in RPD’s internal investigation will have no impact on a potential criminal case from the DA’s office, Bridgett said.
Barkley said Williams has been criminally interviewed concerning the allegations, but declined to say if Williams admitted to any of the allegations.
Barkley said CHP was first notified about the possibility of criminal activity at the warehouse on April 6. She said the criminal investigation began on April 27.
“We were surveilling. Obviously, we had some information about some suspicious vehicles and some activity around the warehouse, and that began a point of where we were surveilling, essentially,” Barkley said when asked what happened in that 21-day span.
Barkley said the investigation is still ongoing.
Asked how the suspects are connected to each other, Bridgett declined to answer. She declined to provide an expectation of when criminal charges might be filed in the case.
Bridgett said Williams and the other suspects have been released from jail, as their bail was set at zero in accordance with statewide emergency bail measures in connection to the coronavirus.
Asked about a possible conflict-of-interest about prosecuting someone who may, like many officers, have been a witness for her prosecutors, Bridgett said there is none.
City records show Williams has worked for RPD since October 2002.
“I understand this kind of behavior can erode the community’s trust and confidence in their police department,” Schueller said Monday at a press conference. “I can assure you, we hold our officers to the highest moral and ethical standards. This kind of criminal behavior is not a reflection of the rest of our incredibly hard-working men and women at the Redding Police Department.”
Matt Brannon covers politics, the criminal justice system and breaking news for the Record Searchlight. Follow him on Twitter @MattBrannon_RS. Support local coverage and keep up with the North State for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today.
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