Ex-LAPD officers sentenced to 25 years for forcing drug informants into sex

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two former LAPD officers who forced drug informants to have sex with them were sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison and required to register as sex offenders.

The two officers had pleaded no contest to rape and other crimes for forcing four women to have sex with them under threat of jail or being exposed as informants.

James Nichols, 46, and Luis Valenzuela, 45, worked as a team. They were Hollywood narcotics officers working the streets in an unmarked vehicle, drawing women into the car who were involved in the drug trade.

But the officers wanted more than information about drug deals. The Jane Doe victims say the partners demanded sex.

"Every time I see a police car while driving, a panic takes over me," one victim said on the witness stand. "My heart starts to beat so fast like it's about to explode."

One attack happened in a parking lot near Temple and Alvarado streets. There were others carried out between 2008 and 2011.

The women were particularly vulnerable because they were confidential informants. The officers had information that could get them locked up.

Even worse: they could expose them as informants to drug dealers, potentially threatening their lives.

The officers were taken off duty four years ago.

Detective Carla Zuniga offered a message to the defendants:

"How dare they. They wore a badge to protect people. Instead, they terrorized them."

On top of their 25-year sentence, the two were given 10 years parole, and required to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.
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