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Massachusetts targets 26 commercial drivers in wake of bribery scandal

BOSTON (AP) — More than two dozen commercial drivers have had their licenses downgraded in the wake of a scandal involving State Police troopers allegedly taking bribes in exchange for passing test scores, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles announced Friday.

The RMV said it identified 26 people who didn’t pass the test properly and changed them to Class D passenger licenses. The drivers, who were not named, will have to take and pass all the required permit and skills tests if they want to get commercial licenses.

The RMV said it was unaware of any crashes involving the drivers. It was reviewing records to look for anyone else who may have obtained a license improperly.

“The RMV is committed to ensuring the public’s safety on the roads. ... The RMV will take appropriate action for additional individuals identified that should not be operating a commercial motor vehicle,” it said in a statement.

Two current and two former troopers were among six people charged this week in the alleged scheme to receive bribes, which included a new snowblower and driveway.

The troopers are accused of falsifying records and giving preferential treatment to at least 17 people from May 2019 to January 2023 who were taking their commercial drivers license tests.

When drivers failed skills tests, the troopers would pass them and communicate that they had done so in text messages with the code word “golden,” according to the indictment. Some allegedly joked in the messages about how badly a driver had performed.

Sgt. Gary Cederquist, 58, of Stoughton, and Trooper Joel Rogers, 54, of Bridgewater, were arrested Tuesday. Calvin Butner, 63, of Halifax, and Perry Mendes, 63, of Wareham, both retired state troopers, were arrested in Florida on Monday.

All four face more than 70 counts including conspiracy to falsify records, extortion and making false statements.

Two others, Eric Mathison, 47, of Boston, and Scott Camara, 42, of Rehoboth, were also implicated in the scheme. Cederquist is alleged to have conspired with Mathison, who worked for a spring water company that employed drivers needing commercial licenses, to give them passing scores; and with Camera, who worked for a truck driving school in Brockton, to help four state troopers get their commercial licenses.

A phone number could not be found for any of the six, and their lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.