26 drivers stripped of CDLs amid investigation into state police bribery scandal, RMV says

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles announced Thursday that more than two dozen drivers have been stripped of their commercial driver’s licenses amid a federal investigation into a bribery scandal involving state police troopers.

Earlier this week, Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy announced a 74-count indictment accusing four Massachusetts State Police troopers of giving “guaranteed passing scores” to failed commercial driver’s license applicants in exchange for kickbacks.

Levy’s office has since identified 26 drivers connected to the scandal who didn’t properly pass their CDL exams and an RMV spokesperson confirmed that immediate action was taken against each individual.

“The 26 individuals identified are no longer permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle and their licenses have been downgraded to a Class D passenger license. They are unable to obtain a commercial driver’s license in the future, without first confirming eligibility and taking and passing all required commercial permit and skills tests,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The RMV is not aware of any motor vehicle crashes of the identified 26 individuals, after obtaining the commercial license at issue, involving a commercial motor vehicle.”

The RMV is continuing to work with Levy’s office to identify other possible CDL drivers connected to the investigation.

“We are reviewing CDL records to identify any additional CDL holders that did not properly pass a CDL test,” the spokesperson added. “The RMV will take appropriate action for additional individuals identified that should not be operating a commercial motor vehicle.”

Sergeant Gary Cederquist, 58, of Stoughton, and Trooper Joel Rogers, 54, of Bridgewater, were taken off the job and suspended without pay following duty status hearings on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the state police announced Thursday that Cederquist had been dishonorably discharged from the department.

In return for passing unqualified applicants, Levy said that Cederquist received personal benefits including a $10,000 driveway makeover, a $2,000 snowblower, a $750 granite post and mailbox, boxes of Polar Seltzer, and cases of high-end bottled water, among an array of other items.

Retired troopers Calvin Butner, 63, of Halifax, Perry Mendes, 63, of Wareham, as well as civilians Scott Camara, 42, of Rehoboth, and Eric Mathison, 47, of Boston, are also facing charges.

An indictment showed that the troopers jokingly talked about “golden handshakes” and “golden treatments” in text messages, referring to giving guaranteed passes to CDL applicants, regardless of how they scored on the test.

The troopers conspired to give preferential treatment to at least 17 CDL applicants by agreeing to give passing scores on their skills tests whether or not they passed, using the code word “golden” to identify these applicants who received special treatment, the indictment alleged, the indictment alleged. Additionally, it is alleged that Cederquist gave preferential treatment to four Class A CDL applicants who were MSP troopers by falsely reporting that each trooper took and passed a Class A skills test.

State police became aware of the federal investigation into members of the CDL Unit in late 2022 and that an internal investigation was launched immediately, according to the department spokesman.

In early 2023, state police implemented numerous reforms to the CDL Unit that have “significantly improved efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability,” including requiring the use of body-worn cameras for all CDL exams, according to the spokesman.

A determination for the troopers’ pensions will be made by the state retirement board and not the state police.

In a statement on Wednesday, Colonel John E. Mawn Jr. condemned the actions of the four current and former CDL Unit members.

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