Friday, April 13, 2012 at 11:49 a.m.
Aaron Scott Vigil, the Rialto police officer who last year was named in a three-count indictment by a federal grand jury for allegedly taking a $2,500 bribe--while serving on a Drug Enforcement Administration task force--from Mission Viejo attorney Lawrence Anthony Witsoe to tell Orange County District Attorney prosecutors that Witsoe's client was a DEA informant, was arrested last Saturday on suspicion of making threats against a captain and a lieutenant in the Rialto Police Department.
And allegedly possessing an explosive device.
Vigil, a 41-year-old Highland
resident, was arrested at his home by San BernardinoCountySheriff's Department
deputies, after the Rialto Police Department complained about threatening phone calls, according to authorities.
Sheriff's deputies allegedly found an explosive device in Vigil's home, but authorities did not release further information. He was on unpaid administrative leave from the police department after the federal indictment came down on June 1.
Vigil is alleged to have contacted District Attorney prosecutors several times to falsely report that Witsoe's client, who was facing an assault charge in Orange County Superior Court in the fall of 2009, had provided important information regarding drug traffickers, including tips that led to a DEA seizure of $110,000 in drug money.
Witsoe was accused of then directing his client to wire $2,500 to a trust account, from which the lawyer wrote a check to the ex-wife of one of Vigil's associates, according to the FBI. The indictment charges both men with conspiracy and soliciting and accepting a bribe by a public official. Witsoe is charged with bribery of a public official.
Witsoe faces 35 years in prison, while Vigil faces 20 years. A court has not yet decided the case.
In the Inland Empire, Vigil is sitting in the Sheriff's Central Detention Facility in San Bernardino on $500,000 bail for the alleged threats against the Rialto police officers.
Vigil "did willfully and unlawfully threaten to commit a crime, which would result in death and great bodily injury to" Rialto Police Lt. Andy Karol and Cpt. Randy DeAnda, according to the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office complaint.
The complaint says "It is further alleged that the threatened crime, on its face and under the circumstances in which it was made, was so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate and specific as to convey to (DeAnda and Karol) a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution."
Christopher Lee, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, declined to discuss the details of the explosive device, and the complaint does not include related charges.
Vigil, who is Latino, sued the Rialto Police Department in 2004, alleging that the department gave preferential treatment to black police officers.
Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!