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Teens Accuse Richmond Officers Providing Guns, Frame Attempt

RICHMOND (CBS 5) – Two Richmond police officers are on administrative leave while the FBI and Contra Costa County District Attorney investigate accusations that they armed teenagers with illegal weapons before trying to frame the boys.

The teens, Sergio Rios and Orlando Torres, were members of the police department’s Explorers Program, where they were mentored in hopes of eventually becoming officers themselves.

Rios and Torres claim that they befriended Officer Danny Harris through the Explorers, and that Harris told them he had plans to hire them to a private security firm that he ran with Officer Ray Thomas. The teens said that officers illegally bought guns for them while they were still minors, and then had them patrol some of the city’s roughest apartment complexes.

“We were being placed in some of the most dangerous places of Richmond and also of Oakland,” said Torres.

“At times I would feel very unsafe,” said Rios.

When Rios and Torres complained, Rios said the officers that they had considered friends tried to frame them. Rios said he was lured to a bar by two women who approached him, but received an anonymous Facebook tip that the officers were trying to trick him into driving drunk.

Authorities are investigating whether the alleged set-up involved Chris Butler, a private investigator who is accused of setting up similar DUI traps in Contra Costa County.

Rios and Torres said that they were shocked but not jaded by the incident.

“I don’t think everybody in that police department is bad. There’s a lot of good guys in that police department that I give all due respect to those guys out there,” said Rios.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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