Tawdry, tawdry stuff. Another prison guard smuggling dope, another cop caught tweaking, an airport security professional trying to get rich, a horny Florida deputy, and a Michigan police chief who sounds like a real decadent party animal. While some of this stuff is low-level, and in a couple of cases, appears to relate to nothing more than personal drug use by law enforcement officers, we are still calling it corrupt, morally if not financially. What else can you say about a person who uses drugs on his own time (or maybe even on the job), then turns around and arrests others for doing the same thing? With this week's philosophical considerations duly noted, let's get to it:
In Columbia Township, Michigan, the charges against former police chief Mark Hunter are piling up, according to local TV station WJLS-6. Hunter was charged last month with selling police guns for his own profit and illegally taping sexual encounters with women on his staff without their knowledge or consent. Those initial charges led to a more thorough investigation of the long-time chief, and now the Michigan State Police report they discovered heroin in his briefcase and nearly 600 pornographic images on his computer, about one-quarter of which featured children. Jackson County prosecutors have now also charged Hunter with possession of kiddie porn, possession of heroin, and using a computer in connection with a crime.
In Wakefield, Louisiana, a state penitentiary prison guard was arrested July 14 and charged with helping to smuggle marijuana into the prison, the Associated Press reported. Sgt. Vanessa Leonards Turner, 33, was charged with malfeasance and conspiring to introduce contraband into a prison. According to prison warden Burl Cain, Turner accepted $100 from an inmate and agreed to help smuggle two ounces of marijuana into the prison. Investigators found the pot inside a condom.
In Jackson, Mississippi, the former security director for Jackson-Evers International Airport is looking at a 10-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to money laundering, the Jackson Clarion Ledger reported. In his July 14 plea, Billy Tucker admitted to using $14,300 in drug profits to buy an SUV in 2000. The plea came in a case involving an $8 million drug shipment of 22 pounds of cocaine and nearly 800 pounds of marijuana into Jackson that same year. Tucker was one of nine people indicted in February 2004 on money-laundering charges related to that deal. Tucker was identified repeatedly in court documents as using drug money to buy cars, boats, and real estate.
In Lee County, Florida, sheriff's deputy Donald Woelke, 32, resigned June 28 after being accused of offering to "fix" charges in return for sex from a woman he had arrested on marijuana possession charges. According to documents released by the Lee County Sheriff's Office, a 34-year-old Cape Coral woman, Shirley Bangs, told investigators Woelke had called her cell phone to arrange a time for them to have sex after he arrested her. "Bangs also alleged Dep. Woelke told her he would 'see what he could do about her criminal charges,'" according to the documents. Woelke has admitted to calling Bangs after the arrest. Bangs claimed that after her arrest, Woelke ordered her to expose her breasts and genitals to him in the back seat of the patrol car and she complied. That's when Woelke said he would call her, she said. Bangs has admitted to lying about part of her account, the documents said, but didn't specify which part. Close readers of this feature will recall that the same Lee County Sheriff's Office also made these pages last week, when Deputy Mark Muldoon was fired after admitting to a cocaine habit.
In Madill, Oklahoma, Madill police officer Michael Stephenson, 50, was charged July 15 with felony possession of a controlled substance within 2,000 feet of a park after buying $30 worth of methamphetamine from an undercover Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics officer in a transaction videotapes by investigators. The 22-year law enforcement veteran is also charged with driving under the influence of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors, the Associated Press reported. He was jailed with bail set at $50,000.