What is it about Texas? DRCNet's recurring feature on corrupt cops has visited Texas more than any other state, and here we are again, although this time the corruption is more personal than financial. A pair of Texas cases made the news recently, both having to do with cops who took time out from arresting drug users to take drugs themselves.
Small town Elsa, Texas, deep in the Rio Grande Valley, is short five officers this week after they all failed random drug tests last week, the Valley Morning Star reported. The officers all resigned September 4 after being confronted with dirty mandatory drug tests. According to city manager Anabel Guerra, all city employees are subject to such random, mandatory drug tests.
Elsa Police Chief Primitivo Rodriguez told the paper that while the incident was unfortunate, it does not mean his department condones drug use by officers. "We test because we are not going to allow it to continue," Rodriguez said. "We still have a good department and its image will be something that the city of Elsa can be proud of because we are not going to tolerate this."
Meanwhile, in the East Texas town of Athens, a Henderson County Sheriff's deputy who specialized in narcotics investigations was ordered jailed by a county judge after failing repeated drug tests since being indicted for obtaining drugs through prescription fraud and retaliation against a police officer investigating him. Bryan Ray Nutt, of Murchison, was ordered jailed immediately pending trial on the charges he faces.
Calling Nutt "a sophisticated drug user," 3rd District Court Judge Jim Parsons raked him over the coals for taking drugs. "You've become that which you swore to abhor," Parsons told Nutt in court. "You've become that which you despised." Parsons added that Nutt, a long time narc whose father is an investigator for Henderson County prosecutors, had benefited from his law enforcement connections. "I think the law has cut him some additional slack because of who he was before he went on this downward spiral," Parsons said.
The judge is probably right. While official figures from Henderson County are unavailable, it is unlikely that normal defendants awaiting trial could get away with the eight positive tests for cocaine and the 19 positive tests for methamphetamine that Nutt produced while out on bond.
Nutt went down in June, after threatening a police officer investigating his supposed drug use. Out on bond, he got in a fight with his girlfriend in August, which, according to the Tyler Daily News, caused probation officials concern that he would become violent.
Nutt was a 12-year veteran of the sheriff's department until his resignation in December and had received many awards. He is now charged with two felony counts and faces up to 10 years in prison on each.