Massachusetts State Troopers arrested for taking bribes to get commercial drivers to pass tests


BOSTON (AP) — Six people, including two current and two former Massachusetts State Police troopers, were charged Tuesday in a bribery scheme that included a new snowblower and driveway in exchange for passing marks on commercial driving tests, the U.S. attorney said. The office said on Tuesday. ,

The six men are accused of falsifying records and giving preferential treatment to at least 17 drivers who were taking their commercial driver’s license or CDL tests from May 2019 to January 2023. Even when drivers failed the skills test, the troopers passed them and notified them with a text and the code word Golden that they had done so. According to the indictment, some soldiers also joked in text messages about how poorly a driver had performed on the test.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. “In short, as alleged in this indictment, the CDLs were for sale,” Levy told reporters. “Soldiers were bribed with free stuff to let applicants pass, no matter how they performed on the test.”

Sergeant Gary Cederquist, 58, of Stoughton, and Trooper Joel Rogers, 54, of Bridgewater, were arrested Tuesday. Kelvin Buttner, 63, of Halifax and Perry Mendes, 63, of Wareham, both retired state troopers, were arrested Monday in Florida. These four face more than 70 charges including conspiracy to tamper with records, extortion and making false statements.

Two others, Eric Mathieson, 47, of Boston, and Scott Camara, 42, of Rehoboth, were also implicated in the scheme.

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All six are expected to make their initial appearances on Tuesday afternoon. Phone numbers for none of the six could be reached and their lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

Cederquist, who is also accused of helping four state troopers obtain commercial driver’s licenses, is accused of accepting a new driveway worth $10,000 and a snowblower worth $2,000 and a granite mailbox worth $750.

“Let me be clear. The individuals named in this indictment have lost their moral compass and will be held accountable,” said Michael Kroll, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations New England. “However, their actions should not tarnish the reputation of the entire institution, especially the majority of public servants in the Massachusetts State Police and Fire Service who day after day serve the citizens of our Commonwealth with pride, honor and integrity . ,

These allegations are the latest scam to hit the state police.

Forty-six current and retired soldiers Authorities said officers who worked for the now-disbanded Troop E, which patrols the Massachusetts Turnpike, were implicated in a scheme in which they collected overtime pay from 2015 to 2017 for shifts they either worked or did not. Was done or not completed. Often, he said, troopers issued fake traffic tickets to make it appear that they were on duty.

These allegations also raise concerns about the integrity of the licensing system established to certify commercial drivers, as the majority of people who take the test in Massachusetts fail. Federal officials said the latest data for 2022 showed the passing rate was 41%.

In 2019, the system caught fire after a commercial truck driver, Volodymyr Zhukovsky, collided with a group of motorcyclists in northern New Hampshire, killing several people. seven motorcyclists,

Zhukovskyy’s commercial driver’s license should have been revoked in Massachusetts at the time of the crash due to his drunken driving conviction in Connecticut nearly two months earlier. Connecticut officials alerted Massachusetts Registry of Motor VehiclesBut Zhukovskyy’s license was not suspended due to a backlog of out-of-state information about driving offenses.

“There are a lot of problems on these roads – road rage and other things like that. “Unfortunately this will increase people’s level of anxiety,” Levy said. “It’s just as worrying to me as someone driving down the road that this happened… You hope that something like that happens in that system.” Where such serious allegations of misconduct have been made.”

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