IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Mass. state troopers charged in bribery scheme, accused of taking snow blower and driveway for driver's licenses

The alleged scheme guaranteed passing scores for commercial driver's license applicants in exchange for goods and services, the U.S. attorney’s office for Massachusetts announced.
Get more newsLiveon

Four current and former Massachusetts State Police troopers were among six people arrested in connection with allegations of a bribery conspiracy to guarantee passing scores on tests for commercial driver's licenses, the U.S. attorney's office for Massachusetts announced Tuesday.

Sgt. Gary Cederquist, Trooper Joel Rogers and retired Troopers Calvin Butner and Perry Mendes are charged in a 74-count indictment. All four troopers were members of the state police commercial driver's license unit, responsible for administering the skills tests for Commercial Drivers Licenses, or CDLs.

The two civilians in the case were identified as Scott Camara and Eric Mathison, a truck driving school employee and a water company employee, respectively.

From around May 2019 to January 2023, the troopers and others involved conspired to give special treatment "to at least 17 CDL applicants by agreeing to give passing scores on their skills tests whether or not they actually passed, using the code word 'golden' to identify these applicants," the charging document alleges.

Cederquist is alleged to have accepted personal bribes, including a $750 granite post and mailbox, a new driveway valued at $10,000 and a $2,000 snow blower, in return for passing unqualified applicants.

The indictment alleges that Cederquist conspired with Mathison to pass applicants affiliated with the water company, which needed drivers with CDLs. In exchange, Mathison delivered free inventory, such as cases of bottled Fiji water and Arizona Iced Tea, along with coffee and tea products, to an office trailer at a CDL test site, authorities claim. Butner is alleged to have assisted in the scheme. 

Cederquist is accused of having given preferential treatment to four Class A CDL applicants who were state troopers by falsely reporting test results. In reality, the troopers did not pass, and they drove vehicles supplied by Camara that did not qualify as Class A, authorities allege. 

“The grand jury indictment against these six men includes charges of extortion, honest services mail fraud, conspiracy, false statements and falsifications of records,” acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said at a news conference. “In short, as alleged in this indictment, the CDLs were for sale and troopers were bribed with free goods to pass applicants no matter how they performed on the test.”

The suspects texted one another about how "horrible" and "brain dead" certain applicants they passed were, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

"Your buddy is a mess. He owes you big time. He will be fine though. Anything for you," one text message said, according to investigators. "This guys a mess. Lol. He owes u a prime rib 6inch. 4 compounds and no watch," another text allegedly reads.

State police became aware of the federal investigation at the end of 2022 and fully cooperated with authorities while they launched their own internal audit.

"The Department condemns the actions of the four current and former CDL Unit members as alleged in the federal indictment and our internal affairs investigation," the interim superintendent of the state police, Col. John Mawn Jr., said in a statement.

"The alleged misconduct of those defendants is the antithesis of and in stark contrast to the values, character, and integrity exhibited by the overwhelming majority of our Troopers every day in service to the public,” he said.

Cederquist, Rogers, Mathison and Camara pleaded not guilty at their initial appearances Tuesday afternoon. Butner and Mendes are expected to appear later. Phone numbers could not be found for any of the six, and their lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.

All CDL recipients identified as unqualified during the investigation have been reported to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. The case continues.