A San Jose police officer accused of illegally accessing confidential police records and being an accessory after an assault to help a gang investigated in the Police Department’s “Gang of Thrones” operation was arraigned Thursday in a San Jose courtroom.
Derrick Antonio, 34, was out of custody as he stood with his hands clasped at the Hall of Justice, where he was arraigned before Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Shelyna Brown this afternoon.
Antonio, dressed in a dark gray suit, did not enter a plea and waved to television cameras as he walked out of the courthouse with defense attorney Larry Peterson.
The officer has been charged with unlawfully accessing the Police Department’s computer system on five different occasions and being an accessory after the fact to a violent assault, both with gang enhancements, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Crystal Seiler said after Thursday’s hearing:
“It’s disappointing when a law enforcement officer finds himself in this position.”
Antonio’s bail was set at $135,000 and he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and four months on the charges, Seiler said.
He’s scheduled to return to court for a plea hearing on Oct. 3.
Four other suspects arrested in the operation – Thy Huynh, Nancy Thi Phan, Trinity Tran and Hao Van Vo – were also set to appear for arraignment in the same courtroom this afternoon.
Antonio is one of nearly 30 suspects identified in the police “Gang of Thrones” investigation into a Vietnamese criminal street gang accused of various crimes including extortion, narcotics trafficking and public corruption that began in March, police said.
Antonio, a 9-1/2-year veteran officer, has been on paid administrative leave since June for allegedly giving gang members classified information including police reports, police said.
On Aug. 24, officers arrested 23 gang members or associates, including Antonio, as a result of more than three dozen warrants served in San Jose, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Fremont, Anaheim and Louisiana with help from the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration, according to police.
Officers found an excessive amount of suspected drugs including 4,000 Ecstasy pills and 300 Xanax pills, police said.
Officers also found five handguns, dozens of illegal gambling machines, more than $200,000 in U.S. currency and an alligator, according to police.