We've got something for everybody this week: Cops as gangsters, DEA agents as thieving real estate speculators, a Texas police chief who never let any drug evidence get away, cops in Miami and Chicago planting drugs, evidence gone missing in East St. Louis, and, of course, another greedy prison guard, this time in Georgia. Let's get to it:
In Los Angeles, at least 19 people, including five police officers have been charged with belonging to a ring led by LAPD Officer Ruben Palomares that committed armed robberies disguised as drug raids. Thirteen had been previously charged in the case, but six more were indicted last week, including a former LA County Sheriff's deputy, and LAPD officer, and a Long Beach police officer, the Associated Press reported. They face multiple counts of conspiracy to possess drugs with the intent to distribute, use of a firearm in a drug trafficking crime, and deprivation of rights under color of law. Palomares allegedly supplied his gang with uniforms, radios, and badges, and the group sometimes used LAPD patrol cars to drive to drug houses they had previously targeted. Their victims were allegedly restrained, threatened, beaten, and robbed. The gang made off with at least 600 pounds of weed, TVs, jewelry, cash, and weapons. Palomares is currently serving a 15-year sentence for his role as gang leader.
In Atlanta, a federal grand jury indicted a DEA agent Monday for stealing DEA funds to buy real estate while he worked Atlanta's Hartsfield airport, WXIA TV reported. Agent Gregory Campion, 44, is charged with embezzling money as a federal officer, embezzling public funds, and money laundering. According to the indictment, on at least seven occasions Campion stole money seized during drug busts from a secure storage vault and used it to buy properties in Orlando, where he currently lives. Prosecutors are seeking to seize those properties. The DEA has suspended Campion without pay.
In Troup, Texas, the police chief and a police officer were arrested last Friday after a six-week investigation into missing drugs and other evidence, the Dallas Morning News reported. Police Chief Chester Kennedy is charged with evidence tampering and Officer Mark Turner is charged with evidence tampering and delivery of marijuana. The investigation by the Smith County Sheriff's Department and the FBI came about after the sheriff received complaints from both inside and outside the department that Troup police had not sent any drug evidence to be tested in five years. They zeroed in on four cases where people were arrested, but the drugs disappeared, including an eight-ball of methamphetamine, several plants, and a gallon bag filled with weed. Kennedy has admitted that he knew evidence had gone missing and that he had given some seized bootleg alcohol to an officer. Turner sold a small quantity of pot to an undercover agent, and police found more in his home later.
In Chicago, the Sun Times reports that Police Sgt. Kevin Morrison has been fired for misconduct in a 2001 drug case. When a teacher complained that she was arrested after her ex-husband had drugs planted in her car, Morrison "failed to cooperate" in the investigation, the Police Board found. Andrea Sullivan was arrested outside her school after Morrison, acting on a tip, pulled her over and found 250 Ecstasy tablets and 43 grams of cocaine. She immediately accused her ex-husband, William Sullivan, of planting the drugs. Morrison was cited for refusing to identify the informant he said gave him the tip drugs were in the car, although his cell phone records showed he had received a call from William Sullivan's brother Stuart. Prosecutors dropped the charges against Andrea Sullivan a month later and said they didn't have enough evidence to charge anyone with planting the drugs. Of the board's eight members, five voted to fire him, two said he deserved lesser punishment, and one found him not guilty on the departmental administrative charges. Bizarrely, Andrea Sullivan has remarried, and her new husband, Chicago Police Officer Michael Allegretti faces criminal charges he ordered women to expose themselves to avoid traffic tickets.
In East St. Louis, Illinois, somebody ripped-off an unknown amount of guns and drugs from the police evidence vault, and the mayor thinks it was an inside job. No one is sure yet exactly what is gone, and Police Chief James Mister said it will take until the end of the month to figure it out, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. (Former Police Chief Ronald Masters will be sentenced March 20 after being convicted of obstructing federal agents investigating a felon illegally carrying a gun as an auxiliary police officer.) Mayor Carl Officer told the Belleville News-Democrat Monday the theft was an inside job and called it "an attempt to cover up and divert some ongoing investigations into police corruption."
In Griffin, Georgia, Spalding County Deputy John Dabbs was busted March 2 on charges he was selling marijuana to inmates at the Spaulding County Jail. The night-shift guard fell prey to an undercover officer planted in a cell block, WSB TV in Atlanta reported. Dabbs went down after being caught discussing the transfer of cash for narcotics, the Spalding County Sheriff's Office told the station.