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Ex-detective enters plea in SD campaign scandal

A retired San Diego police detective accused of conspiring with others to funnel money from a Mexican businessman to San Diego political campaigns has pleaded not guilty in federal court.

Ernesto Encinas, 58, faces charges of conspiracy to commit crimes against the United States and filing a false tax return. He waived his right to require the prosecution to present the case to a grand jury.

Federal prosecutors have accused Encinas and Ravneet Singh, owner of a Washington, D.C.-based campaign services firm, with trying to hide the foreign source of $500,000 donated to several San Diego politicians.

Encinas retired from the San Diego Police Department in 2009.

Marco Polo Cortes, a City Hall lobbyist, is also charged with conspiracy in the corruption case.

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