Ex-police officer accepts plea deal in weapons case

Former Las Vegas police officer Thomas Mendiola struck a plea deal Thursday in his felony weapons case.

Mendiola, one of the Metropolitan Police Department officers who shot and killed Erik Scott outside the Summerlin Costco in July 2010, pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of conspiring to dispose of a firearm to a prohibited person.

District Judge Douglas Herndon accepted the plea and fined Mendiola $2,000.

Mendiola, 35, had been facing a more serious felony charge of unlawfully giving a handgun to a two-time felon and was to stand trial on Monday.

The plea agreement was ironed out by Chief Deputy District Attorney Sandra DiGiacomo and Mendiola's attorney, Ulrich Smith.

Mendiola entered the plea because he wants to move on with his life, Smith said.

"He wants to leave Las Vegas with his family," Smith said. "It's too difficult for him here."

A coroner's inquest found that Mendiola and two other officers were justified in Scott's shooting.

Days after the shooting, Mendiola gave a .22-caliber Ruger handgun to Robert Justice, who has two theft convictions in Arizona, according to Mendiola's indictment.

Justice, 45, pleaded guilty and cooperated with police in this case and another one involving the late construction defects attorney Nancy Quon and her boyfriend, former Las Vegas police officer William Ronald Webb.

Quon and Webb were charged in the suspected arson of Quon's Rhodes Ranch home, but Herndon dismissed the case in January. Quon died on March 20.

Police said they learned about the relationship between Justice and Mendiola during an undercover investigation that targeted Justice in 2010.

Police said Justice ended up selling the handgun and a Dan Wesson .357-caliber revolver to an undercover detective for $500.

Neither firearm was registered with authorities in Clark County.

Contact reporter Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135.