Officer Pleads Not Guilty To Cheating Casino

Jesus Salazar, 30, Arrested June 2 At Sycuan Casino

A Chula Vista police officer accused of trying to cheat an East County gaming house by padding his bets pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges, authorities said Friday.

Arraignment had been scheduled today in El Cajon for 30-year-old Jesus Angel Salazar, but his attorney faxed in his not guilty plea Thursday, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Defendants charged with misdemeanors do not have to appear in court in person.

Salazar, a nine-year department veteran, is charged with one count each of capping and petty theft.

He faces up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine if convicted of the capping charge and six months in custody if convicted of petty theft, prosecutors said.

Salazar was arrested June 2 at Sycuan Casino in the Dehesa area and booked into jail, but posted $10,000 bail the next morning and was released, according to Bernard Gonzales, a spokesman for the Chula Vista Police Department.

Authorities said Salazar was playing blackjack when he was allegedly caught "capping," or surreptitiously adding chips to a winning wager after a round of play was complete.

At the time of his arrest, Salazar already was facing a DUI charge stemming from an April 9 traffic arrest that also took place at Sycuan Casino, according to Gonzales.

The officer, whose most recent assignment was patrol duties, will remain suspended without pay pending resolution of the latest allegation against him, according to department officials.

Salazar will be back in court July 13 for a readiness conference.

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