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Ex-cop takes plea deal, gets 3 years

Trial could have resulted in 15 years, attorney says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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The ex-cop originally charged with multiple drug-related felonies and murder-for-hire was sentenced Monday to three years in prison. Ruben Cesar Salgado, 37, was arrested in May on numerous drug charges. Salgado was a 12-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol, but was fired June 30. He had most recently been working at the Newcastle office. While out on bail, Salgado reportedly tried to hire someone to commit murder against a woman with the initials “R.M.” The woman allegedly sold Salgado drugs and might have testified against him in court. Salgado agreed to a plea arrangement at his trial confirming conference Monday. He pleaded no contest to a felony charge of solicitation of murder, possession of methamphetamine with a firearm, a felony, and driving under the influence of methamphetamine, a misdemeanor, according to Art Campos, spokesman for the Placer County District Attorney’s Office. According to Campos, Monday’s proceeding was expected to be a routine conference in which Salgado’s trial date would have been confirmed. The District Attorney’s Office made the offer for the plea arrangement Sept. 27, and it was necessary for a quick decision to be made, said Daniel Nicholson, Salgado’s attorney. “It was the only time (to choose the bargain),” Nicholson said. “It was an offer that was only available for one week, so it had to happen today if it was going to happen at all.” Salgado agreed Monday to be sentenced immediately, and Judge Larry Gaddis sentenced him to three years in prison. He is ineligible for probation, Campos said. Salgado waived the time he served in Placer County Jail, so it is not included in his sentence, according to Campos. Nicholson said if Salgado had been found guilty of all charges during a trial, his time in prison would have been longer, and this was the best thing for the former officer in the long run. “The worst-case scenario for him if he lost on every account was roughly 14 or 15 years,” he said. “That would be the absolute maximum. So, there were potential downsides at trial. This was a very reasonable offer. So, I’m happy with the outcome.” Nicholson said he encouraged the court to get Salgado help with his drug addiction. “I’m sure this is not his proudest day … I asked the court to recommend that he receives drug treatment,” he said. “I think if he were not addicted to methamphetamine he would still be a CHP officer.” Nicholson said he talked to the district attorney who said the Highway Patrol is satisfied with the plea. Now that the case is closed, Nicholson doesn’t plan on talking to Salgado in the near future, he said. “It’ll be the last (time) for awhile I’m sure,” Nicholson said. “I do hope that he has a very productive and successful life (when) this incident is put behind him, (he) completes parole and moves on.” Prosecuting Attorney Doug Van Breemen said he felt a prison sentence was necessary. “The defendant pled to the two most serious charges, and this plea arrangement prevents any possibility of Mr. Salgado receiving probation,” Van Breemen said. “He will now have to go to state prison. This law enforcement officer betrayed the public trust. It is appropriate that he go to prison, even though he had no prior criminal record. The defendant would have been probation-eligible even after a successful jury trial.” According to Campos, Salgado is being held in Placer County until he is turned over to the California Department of Corrections. Nicholson said for security reasons he was not told when Salgado would be transported. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com