Newsbrief: Corrupt Cops of the Week 1/10/03

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Although the Dallas Police Department "sheetrock" scandal has been festering for months, it is time to give Dallas police officers Senior Cpl. Mark Delapaz and Officer Eddie Herrera their due. After all, a federal grand jury is hearing testimony about their behavior and they are likely to end up as indicted ex-cops within a matter of days or weeks. Delapaz and Herrara made a name for themselves as avid dope-busters, enlisting informants to nail suspect after suspect with pounds of powder. Only one problem: Although the pounds of powder were supposed to be cocaine, they have turned out to be sheetrock.

The discovery came too late for dozens of men, mainly Hispanic, who, faced with zealous narcs and prosecutors and prison sentences in the decades, pled guilty and went to prison for crimes they knew they did not commit. Others -- those arrested by Delapaz and Herrara, but yet to be tried -- have been more fortunate. Dallas County prosecutors have been forced to drop more than 80 cases. They are also preparing to defend numerous civil lawsuits claiming false imprisonment.

The vast majority of the suspect cases were made by Delapaz and Herrera with the help of paid informant Enrique Martinez Alonso. He started working with police after being arrested with a pound of cocaine in July 1999. Alonso is reported to have told police he could deliver some of Dallas's biggest dealers -- if his charges were dropped and if he got a cut of the value of the seized drugs. Top police officials agreed to the set-up.

According to police and court records, Alonso was the department's top snitch within a year. He took in $200,000 in payments from police as he led them to more than 70 arrests and huge amounts of what was supposed to be cocaine and methamphetamine. Instead, either Alonso or Alonso, Delapaz and Herrara framed dozens of innocent men.

The question is whether the cops were in on it. "It's all going to boil down to whether the narcs knew the informants were setting innocent people up or whether they were snookered themselves," said a former Dallas federal prosecutor told the Washington Times. Former DEA El Paso Intelligence Center chief Phil Jordan had little doubt, however. Any experienced narcotics officer would have known at a glance, he told the Times. "The feel and texture is different," he said.

But whether it was a hustler who fooled the cops or crooked cops in cahoots with him, the sheetrock scandal has exposed dirty dealings in Dallas. It was not just a bad cop or a bad informer, but a police, prosecutorial and judicial culture that mindlessly marched those innocent men through the legal meat grinder.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail drcnet@drcnet.org. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #271, 1/10/03 The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | The Road to Mérida: Interview with Mario Menéndez, Publisher of !Por Esto!, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | The Road to Mérida: Dr. Jaime Malamud-Goti, former Argentine Solicitor General | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Canada Cannabis Conundrum Continued: Government Will Appeal Ontario Ruling, Prosecutors to Put Possession Cases on Hold | Newsbrief: Eyeing Stiffer Meth Penalties in West Virginia | Newsbrief: First Local Salvia Divinorum Ordinance Proposed | Newsbrief: Huffington SUV-Terrorism Ad Parodies Drug Czar's Drug-Terrorism Campaign | Newsbrief: Corrupt Cops of the Week | Newsbrief: Ontario Court Clears Tokin' Motorist of DWI Charge | Newsbrief: Massachusetts Cops Slow to Act on Racial Profiling Law | Newsbrief: New Jersey Seeks to Delay Ban on Asset Forfeiture, Will Appeal Ruling | Newsbrief: Federal Court Ruling on No-Knock Search Raises Questions About Standard Procedure in Kansas City | Web Scan: Maia Szalavitz in Slate, GAO on Colombia Coca, Globe and Mail on Ontario Marijuana Ruling | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 drcnet@drcnet.org