Officers in child-porn raid on Dennis Peron may have credibility issue 

Child pornography charges against medical-marijuana guru Dennis Peron became cloudier last week after District Attorney George Gascón announced that police involved in a raid of Peron’s residence are now under investigation for misconduct in other cases.

The Aug. 4 raid of Peron’s residence, which doubles as a bed and breakfast known as the “Castro Castle,” turned up child pornography on computers and several types of drugs, according to a police affidavit.

Peron said in a phone interview that he expects his attorney to make the credibility of the investigating officers an issue in his case.

“There aren’t many innocent people at the Hall of Justice,” Peron said. “But I am innocent of these charges.”

Peron, the well-known local pot and gay-rights activist who spearheaded California’s Proposition 215 in 1996 to pave the way for legalizing medical marijuana, claims San Francisco cops have been out to get him for decades and the latest charges are another attempt to put him in jail on false pretenses.

Peron said he has never looked at child pornography in his life and if police found porn on the computers, it originated with one of the guests, who are permitted to use Castro Castle laptops in a common area.

“I don’t know these people, I rent to them,” Peron said. “I don’t even watch any porn. I’m very vanilla.”

Gascón announced last week that two surveillance videos obtained by Public Defender Jeff Adachi have prompted an investigation of at least five Mission Station officers for misconduct, including theft of electronics and questionable evidence gathering in a drug case. The videos were enough to cause prosecutors to drop more than two dozen felony cases last week.

Adachi identified the common denominator in the dismissed cases as Officer Ricardo Guerrero, who is also one of the primary investigators conducting police work in Peron’s case, according to court documents.

Guerrero has been featured as one of the cops in three different videos released by Adachi recently that show misconduct or contradict police reports.

Other undercover officers at Mission Station have also been accused by Adachi and other criminal defense lawyers of engaging in misconduct. Many of those officers — including Sgt. Kevin Healy — were involved in the Peron investigation and subsequent raid.

Mission Station Capt. Greg Corrales said the case “speaks for itself,” given the evidence found.

“Dennis Peron’s attorneys are trying to muddy the water; that’s what they get paid for,” Corrales said. “I think justice will be served in this case.”

District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Erica Derryck said prosecutors will move forward in the Peron case, which she said is bolstered by evidence and testimony disconnected from the Mission Station officers in question. The Police Department’s juvenile crimes unit jointly investigated Peron with the Mission cops.

“At this juncture, we believe we can proceed,” Derryck said.

On Friday, a judge is scheduled to hear Peron’s motion to reveal a confidential informant used by police in the case.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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Dan Schreiber

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