Jesse B. Gill, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/08/2011 06:10:31 PM PDT

RIALTO – The police officer arrested Monday by FBI agents and indicted federal grand jury has been put on unpaid leave pending a Rialto Police Department internal affairs investigation.

Aaron Scott Vigil, 41, of Highland, who served as a task force officer with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, allegedly agreed to accept a $2,500 bribe in 2009 in exchange for falsely telling the Orange County District Attorney’s Office that a criminal defendant was a cooperator who had provided information to the DEA, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Vigil pleaded not guilty to all federal charges, said Rialto Police Chief Mark Kling,

“I have placed Officer Aaron Vigil on unpaid, non-punitive administrative leave pending the outcome of the case against him,” Kling said.

The internal affairs investigation – which was launched Tuesday – is separate from the federal case against Vigil and is meant to determine if Vigil violated any department policies, Kling said.

“Because of the federal case against officer Vigil, placing him on unpaid leave was the right thing to do,” he said.

A call to Vigil’s defense attorney, Michael Schwartz, did not return a message Wednesday seeking comment.

Orange County defense attorney Lawrence Anthony Witsoe also was arrested Monday by the FBI and targeted by the same federal indictment that named Vigil.

The alleged bribery scheme began in the Fall when Witsoe allegedly told a client – facing assault charges in Orange County – that for $2,500, Witsoe could get the assault case dismissed, according to federal prosecutors.

Witsoe allegedly told his client that he could have a DEA agent call the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, explain that the client was working as a confidential informant and request that they consider the work that the client performed.

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