A San Luis Obispo detective charged in a bribery scheme was released from custody Tuesday on $25,000 bond, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Cory Pierce, 39, of Arroyo Grande, appeared in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, but no plea was entered, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office at California’s Central District. Pierce’s arraignment is scheduled for March 13.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Department of Justice, Pierce, a six-year veteran of the San Luis Obispo Police Department assigned to the sheriff's narcotics task force, took cash and drugs from two repeat offenders — a boyfriend and girlfriend — from February 2012 until February 2013. In return, he helped them avoid arrest and get lighter probation supervision and provided them with drugs.
Last month, one of the witnesses began cooperating with a federal investigation and recorded multiple conversations with Pierce.
Both witnesses said they became Pierce’s sources in late 2011, after Pierce arrested the male for possession of heroin. The witnesses said Pierce was allowing the male to act as a source so he could “work off” his heroin charge. Soon after, the complaint alleges, Pierce began requesting the informants bring him narcotics. Eventually, Pierce and the offenders allegedly began exchanging pills and heroin for methamphetamines, Pierce sometimes providing the offenders with drugs still in police evidence bags.
At one point, Pierce allegedly gave the female fake pills so she could trade them for real pills that she would give to him. When the female later told Pierce that people were upset at her for giving them fake pills, Pierce allegedly said, “I’ll get them. I’ll take care of it.”
As the exchanges were occurring, the complaint alleges, Pierce began ingesting increasingly more pills and heroin.
If convicted of bribery, Pierce faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.