A Richmond police officer found with marijuana in his home earlier this year likely won’t be charged with a crime, authorities said, but his future on the police force is undetermined.
Veteran K-9 officer Joe Avila has been on paid administrative leave since September, pending an internal investigation, officials in the Richmond Police Department said.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has been investigating since the case came to its attention earlier this year but is not inclined to file charges, said Robin Lipetzky, the county’s chief public defender. According to Lipetzky, the decision likely stems from evidence not strong enough to produce a conviction.
A search warrant affidavit obtained by this newspaper shows that Avila picked up a box containing about 4 to 5 pounds of marijuana from a UPS store on Nov. 25, 2013. Avila then radioed a dispatcher to say that he would file an incident report.
Avila never did so, according to the search warrant. Instead, in what several police sources have said is a violation of Richmond police policy, the marijuana ended up in his Oakley home instead of being placed into a department evidence locker.
The matter came to officials’ attention after an officer was assigned in January 2014 to investigate Avila’s alleged failure to write more than three dozen police reports, the warrant said.