SDPD officers Bryce and Jennifer Charpentier plead not guilty in drug case

Couple arrested in drug probe last week

SAN DIEGO - Husband-and-wife San Diego police officers pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of selling or furnishing a controlled substance, Hydrocodone, and possession of a firearm by an addict.

Bryce Charpentier, 32 -- who is also charged with an allegation that he was armed during a drug transaction -- faces six years and eight months in state prison if convicted.

His 41-year-old wife, Jennifer Charpentier, would face five years and eight months behind bars if found guilty, said Deputy District Attorney Matthew Tag.

The prosecutor alleged that both defendants were addicted to opiates.

"They were providing the medication (Hydrocodone) to others," Tag said outside court. "Enough Hydrocodone to sell or market, so it's not a couple pills."

Judge David Szumowski allowed both defendants to remain free on their posted $50,000 bail. The judge ordered the defendant not to possess weapons unless it was work-related.

After the Charpentiers were arrested June 5 as part of a long-running task force investigation, SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman immediately placed the defendants on leave and revoked their police powers.

Bryce Charpentier is a six-year SDPD veteran assigned to the department's Mid-City Division, and his wife works out of the Western Division. They live in 4S Ranch.

A readiness conference was set for July 24 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 14.

Earlier this week, a judge gave temporary custody of Jennifer's two children to her ex-husband.

The police department has been saddled with officer misconduct cases this year, including that of Officer Christopher Hays, who is charged with felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery in connection with his detention of several women. He resigned from the department the day after his February arrest and is awaiting trial.

The same month, Detective Karen Almos, 47, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after being found passed out in a parked car in Balboa Park. She later pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay a fine of about $2,100.

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