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Uplands Park officer pleads guilty in shakedown case


A former auxiliary police officer in Uplands Park, a tiny municipality in North County, has pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge for stealing money and cell phones from prostitutes he and another officer had pulled over during traffic stops.

Justin Scott Biancardi said in court that he participated in 10-15 of the shakedowns, which took place in 2009. Biancardi's the second officer to plead guilty in the cases - his former field trainer, Leon Pullen, admitted in July that he responded to online ads from four women, then robbed and sexually assaulted them when they arrived to meet Pullen.

Biancardi was never charged with sexual assault, and cooperated with prosecutors.

Biancardi will be sentenced in April, when he faces a max of 10 years in prison. Pullen will be sentenced later this month.

Early last year, a local television news outlet reported that Biancardi was working in a neighboring police department without proper licensing. Two Uplands Park officers and the chief of police are currently facing charges over the lack of a proper license.

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