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LOS ANGELES police officer allegedly a suspect in stabbing death

Updated:
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A police officer arrested earlier this month on cocaine charges has been implicated by one of his cohorts in the stabbing death of a 23-year-old man, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Officer Ruben Palomares, 31, and four other men are suspects in the Dec. 9 slaying of Erick Mendoza, who was attacked after an argument at a restaurant in suburban Huntington Park, the newspaper said, citing unidentified police sources.

Huntington Park police Lt. Kenneth Rulon confirmed the men are suspects in Mendoza's death.

Authorities wouldn't reveal who informed them about the slaying but said he claimed he was there when Mendoza was killed.

Palomares' attorneys said they were unaware of any murder investigation involving their client.

Palomares worked at the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart station, the subject of a corruption scandal in which members of the anti-gang unit allegedly robbed, beat, framed and shot suspects.

Palomares also is the subject of a separate investigation by the FBI, which is examining his possible role in the 1998 shooting of an alleged drug dealer.
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