Federal authorities arrested two current and two retired Massachusetts state troopers this week, charging them with faking commercial driver's license test results in exchange for bribes.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy said the two current State Police officers, Sgt. Gary Cederquist and trooper Joel Rogers, were arrested Tuesday morning, as were two other individuals charged in the case. The two retirees, former troopers Calvin Butner and Perry Mendes, were arrested Monday in Florida.

The alleged scheme began in August 2018. Cederquist, who earns an annual salary of roughly $149,000, ran the commercial driver's license unit within the state police, and Butner, Mendes and Rogers were members of that unit.

The four troopers allegedly agreed to give certain CDL applicants passing scores on their skills tests regardless of whether they actually passed. They used the code word “golden” to describe those applicants and exchanged text messages like “Golden Mess” and “Yes sir he got the golden handshake,” according to the indictment.

Two friends of Cederquist were also arrested. One, Scott Camara, worked for a Brockton truck driving school, and the other, Eric Mathison, worked for a spring water company with warehouses in Massachusetts.

“The grand jury indictment against these six men includes charges of extortion, honest services mail fraud, conspiracy, false statements and falsification of records,” Levy said at a Tuesday press 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.”

In all, Levy said authorities have identified more than two dozen people who received CDLs without taking or passing the test.

Authorities say Mathison delivered cases of bottled water and other beverages to a CDL test site in Stoughton in exchange for passing scores for three drivers affiliated with the water company — one of whom Cederquist allegedly described in a text message as “an idiot” who “should have failed about 10 times already.”

Camara, the truck-driving school employee, allegedly provided false information on the CDL applications of four other, unnamed troopers. According to the indictment, Cederquist then reported that all four took and passed the necessary skills test despite knowing that they had not and they did not drive qualifying vehicles.

Cederquist allegedly accepted additional bribes, including a mailbox, a snowblower and a new driveway valued at more than $10,000.

"As an Association, we were disappointed to learn of the recent indictments involving two current and two former members. We will closely monitor the developments of this case while respecting the legal process and the due process of those involved," State Police union President Brian Williams said in a statement Tuesday.

In recent years, the U.S. Attorney's Office has also charged troopers in connection with an overtime fraud scheme and charged a former head of the union representing State Police officers with misuse of union funds.

Levy said Tuesday's indictment is about the specific men charged and not a reflection of the full State Police force.

Michael Krol, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England, thanked the head of the state police, Col. John Mawn, "for his ongoing cooperation in this sensitive matter."

"We in public service, in law enforcement, are held to a higher standard, as we should be," Krol said.

Updated: January 31, 2024
This story was updated to include a statement from the State Police union.