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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Just another run of the mill week of drug war law enforcement corruption, except having a state trooper involved in a major pot grow is fairly unusual. Let's get to it:

In Clearwater, Florida, a Pinellas County narcotics detective resigned Monday amid charges he broke the law busting marijuana grow houses. Mike Sciarrino, a 12-year veteran of the sheriff's office is one of four detectives accused of falsifying evidence and lying to get search warrants. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is investigating the detectives' techniques, which included presenting themselves as power company employees to gain access to homes. No charges have been filed yet.

In Guayama, Puerto Rico, a prison guard was arrested June 8 on charges that he smuggled drugs into the facility. Ruben Rodriguez Colon is accused of smuggling 400 capsules of heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana into the prison named Institucion Guayama 500. Rodriguez Colon went down after another guard spotted him delivering drugs to an inmate. He is charged with introducing illicit drugs into a correctional facility and has a preliminary hearing next week.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, a former Duval County sheriff's deputy was charged Tuesday in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy case. Victor Carillo, 27, had been fired last month, a week after another deputy, Ruben Silva, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 13 pounds of cocaine, and the sheriff said the firing was related to that case. Now, he faces the same charge. He is accused of helping Silva and others smuggle cocaine past a Border Patrol checkpoint in Mission. When the charges were announced, Carillo was already being held in the Duval County Jail on suspicion of theft by a public servant charges because he had pawned his assault rifle instead of turning it in.

In Charleston, South Carolina, a former state trooper was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison for his role in a commercial-scale marijuana growing operation. Kurt Steffen, 30, must also do four years of supervised release. Steffen, who joined the state Highway Patrol in 2007, at some point thereafter decided along with others to do the grow to make more money. He bought a property in Ridgeville in May 2008, and he and his partners produced crops there until the grow was raided in January 2010. Prosecutors said the grow yielded thousands of dollars in profits. In his plea agreement, Steffen forfeited the property and admitted transporting weed in his Highway Patrol vehicle.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Bad deputy! We have three cases of misbehaving sheriff's deputies this week, plus the mandatory crooked prison guard. Let's get to it:

In Newark, Ohio, a Licking County Sheriff's deputy has resigned, just hours before he was to be interviewed in an internal investigation about allegations he let a woman inject him with stolen narcotics. Although Deputy Nicholas Pearce resigned in May, the news wasn't announced until last Thursday. He resigned 10 days after being placed on administrative leave because a woman he knew told investigators she injected him with narcotics she stole from her employer, Genesis-Bethesda Hospital in Zanesville, according to an internal affairs investigation.

In Michigan City, Indiana, an Indiana Department of Corrections officer was arrested last Thursday for allegedly smuggling drugs to prison inmates. Tracey Young, 38, is recreational director at the Indiana Department of Corrections Juvenile Facility in South Bend, but had previously worked at the Michigan City State Prison. It is unclear at which prison she is alleged to have done the drug smuggling. She was being held without bond pending arraignment.

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a suspended Broward County's Sheriff's detective was arrested Monday after repeatedly violating the conditions of his bond. Brent Woodell had been arrested in a September 2011 sting operation for stealing $1,340 in cash from an Oxycontin dealer he arrested, but had been out on bail. Prosecutors had twice earlier tried to have his bond revoked, once for intimidating a witness and again after he fled the scene of an accident while on his way to a court appearance. This time, Woodell removed his court-ordered GPS monitor and went to a strip club, where deputies found him. In addition to the grand theft and official misconduct charges, Woddell is accused of tampering with evidence, falsifying records and delivery of steroids. If convicted of all charges, he faces more than 30 years in prison.

In Memphis, a former Arkansas sheriff's deputy was sentenced last Thursday to nearly seven years in federal prison for his role in an eastern Arkansas corruption and drug trafficking ring. Winston Dean Jackson is the third law enforcement officer to be sentenced in an investigation the feds dubbed Operation Delta Blues. He pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to distribute and possession of a controlled substance. One more officer awaits sentencing and one more officer awaits trial in the operation.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

What's the matter with Kansas? Two corrupt cops stories out of the Jayhawk State this week, but also tales out of Arkansas, New York, and Pennsylvania. Let's get to it:

In Stockton, Kansas, the Rooks County sheriff resigned last Thursday after being on administrative leave since being charged in January with nine felony counts of methamphetamine distribution. Randy Axelson presented his resignation to the county clerk in the morning, to take effect at noon that day. He had been continuing to collect his salary while on leave. Five of the charges against him involve meth sales within a thousand feet of a school, which carries a stiffer penalty than the four remaining sales charges.

In Holton, Kansas, a former Sabetha police officer was arrested last Thursday on charges he stole methamphetamine from the department evidence room and resold it. Ryan Bruggerman went down after an investigation by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. He is charged with one felony count each of distribution of meth and official misconduct. He was jailed in Holton on $5,000 bond.

In Buffalo, New York, a Buffalo police officer was arrested last Thursday on charges he was involved in running a marijuana grow-op. Officer Jorge Melendez, 41, and another man were caught on federal surveillance videos attending a 100-plant grow in a warehouse, and Melendez was captured on video driving up to the warehouse in his police car. Both men face charges of conspiracy to manufacture more than 100 marijuana plants, maintaining a premises for manufacturing marijuana, and manufacturing more than 100 marijuana plants. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, a fine of $4,000,000 or both.

In Hatboro, Pennsylvania, a former Hatboro narcotics detective was charged last Friday with various counts related to alleged thefts from the department's evidence locker and using his informants to buy drugs for his own personal use. John Becker, 42, had worked for the department for 17 years before a 16-month investigation resulted in his suspension, resignation, and arrest last month. Becker is accused of stealing at least 10 firearms and $18,000 cash from the evidence locker during a six-month period in 2010 and 2011. He is also accused of using snitches to buy OxyContin, Percocet, and cocaine for him to use throughout 2010.

In New York City, a former NYPD narcotics detective was acquitted last Wednesday of charges he planted drugs on bar patrons. Adolph Osback walked after a jury acquitted him of multiple charges of falsifying police reports, perjury and official misconduct after deliberating for only 90 minutes. He was indicted based on testimony of his former partner, Stephen Anderson, who testified that Osback "flaked" people by planting drugs on them. Anderson has already pleaded guilty to flaking after being caught on surveillance video. Osbach was fired when he was arrested back in December 2010.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, a former Marvell police officer was sentenced last Wednesday to two years in federal prison for accepting bribes to look the other way as drug traffickers transited the region. Robert Wahls was one of five law enforcement officers and 66 other people who were indicted in an investigation called Operation Delta Blues, which focused on drug trafficking and corruption in the Mississippi Delta towns of Helena and West Helena. He pleaded guilty in January to extortion and money laundering, and admitted he took money for escorting someone posing as a drug trafficker.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Don't give joints to snitches you're having an affair with -- that's the lesson one California cop learned last week. There are more crooked cops for us this week, too. Let's get to it:

In New Bern, North Carolina, a New Bern police officer was arrested last Wednesday on charges she was stealing pain pills from the evidence room. Officer Frances Sutton went down after the department reviewed drug cases in which she was the charging officer and found oxycodone tablets seized as evidence had gone missing. She is charged with four felony counts of obstruction of justice and three felony counts of altering, destroying, or stealing evidence of criminal conduct. She was placed in the Craven County Jail under a $35,000 secured bond.

In LaGrange, Georgia, a Troup County jail officer was arrested last Thursday on charges he snuck marijuana, cell phones, credit cards and other items to inmates. Officer Angel Vargas, 38, went down after an eight-month investigation by the sheriff's office. He is charged with violating Georgia's controlled substance act, prohibited possession of inmate contraband and crossing the guard line of the jail with contraband. Vargas is the 78th Georgia correctional officer to be charged with smuggling contraband to inmates in the last four years.

In Hayward, California, a former San Leandro police detective pleaded no contest last Wednesday to charges he gave marijuana to a police informant with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Jason Frederikkson, 39, copped to a misdemeanor count of possession of more than an ounce of marijuana after prosecutors agreed to drop a felony count of transporting and furnishing marijuana to an informant. He got a 30-day jail sentence, but will be able to serve the time on work release. He was also sentenced to five years probation.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Philadelphia pays for police misbehavior, more cops get caught pilfering the evidence, one gets caught helping a heroin dealer, and another goes down hard for helping drug traffickers. Let's get to it:

In Philadelphia, the city has quietly settled 21 lawsuits filed by shop owners after members of the Narcotics Field Unit stole cash and merchandise when ostensibly raiding the places in search of small plastic bags used to sell drugs. The unit's actions exploded into a major scandal in 2009 when a security camera unit members thought they had disabled recorded their actions on a computer hard drive. The result was an FBI investigation of the officers, dropped charges against some defendants, and numerous federal civil right lawsuits filed by people who said they were abused or framed by the squad. The 21 who have settled so far have received an average pay out of $40,000. No officers have yet been charged, but the FBI continues to investigate.

In Baltimore, a Baltimore police sergeant was arrested last Wednesday on charges he made up information to obtain a drug search warrant. Sgt. Dennis Workley, a 16-year veteran of the force, is charged with perjury and misconduct over a December drug raid. Baltimore police investigated after receiving a citizen's complaint, and it is alleged discrepancies in his warrant application for that raid showed he "cut and pasted" text from another case. Workley has been suspended.

In Hatboro, Pennsylvania, a former Hatboro police detective-sergeant was arrested last Thursday on charges he stole guns, drugs, and cash from the department evidence room and used a police informant to buy drugs for him. John Becker, 42, was the evidence room custodian and is accused of stealing 10 guns between 2003 and 2011, along with $18,000 in cash, and more than $2,000 in drugs. Prosecutors said it was to feed his opiate pain pill habit, and that he also "convinced or coerced several individuals to make numerous drug purchases on his behalf, including powerful prescription pain medications such as OxyContin and Percocet, along with cocaine" under the pretense that he was doing undercover drug investigations. Numerous items missing from the evidence room were found during a search of his home last year. He faces numerous charges.

In Suffield, Connecticut, a Suffield police officer was arrested last Friday for stealing cash from a drug bust. Jeremy DePietro was the arresting officer in a March 2011 call where officers found narcotics and $332 in cash. After the case was disposed of, the court ordered the drugs destroyed and the cash placed in the court's general fund, but the cash was gone. An investigation pointed to DePietro. He is now charged with tampering with evidence and sixth degree larceny. He was also fired. He is out on $24,000 bond.

In New York City, a Queens-based NYPD officer was arrested Tuesday on charge he used his position to gain access to sensitive computer records and pass them on to a convicted heroin dealer. Officer Devon Daniels, 30, went down in a DEA investigation that included wiretaps after agents found evidence he used an NYPD database to look up license plate numbers and check the status of criminal warrants for heroin traffickers in Jamaica, Queens. He is heard on wiretaps asking the dealer for money, "any working revolver," and the use of one of his cars. On one occasion, while driving the dealer's car, he stopped at the scene of an arrest of one of the dealer's crew, quizzed police about what was going on, and immediately reported back to the dealer. He has not yet been formally charged and is out on $150,000 bond awaiting arraignment.

In Carlsbad, California, a Carlsbad police officer pleaded guilty last Thursday to stealing heroin from the department evidence room. Officer Michael Koch, 44, was arrested in January after two employees saw him stealing the dope. Prosecutors said Koch was strung out and stole the drugs for personal use. He entered rehab after being arrested. He will be sentenced June 20 and is expected to receive probation. In the meantime, he's still collecting his $86,000 annual salary while a departmental internal investigation continues.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, a former Arecibo police officer was sentenced last Friday to 24 years in federal prison for his role in a drug ring. David Gonzalez-Perez was indicted with 16 other people in a 70-count drug trafficking indictment in September 2010 and was found guilty of 28 counts of conspiracy and attempt to possess with intent to distribute cocaine after a two-week trial in August 2011. He participated in 15 drug transactions, which totaled over 200 kilograms of cocaine and received $36,000 in payments for his security services during the drug transactions. He also recruited 15 others to provide armed security with him during these drug transactions, including his brother and sister-in-law.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

We inadvertently missed a week last week, but the corrupt cops didn't. Let's get to it:

In Hanford, California, a Hanford police officer was arrested May 3 on drug charges. Officer Ernesto Servin, 30, was arrested when he arrived for work at the police department and police found Oxycontin, methamphetamine, and marijuana in his car. Authorities suspect he got the drugs from arrests he made and cases he worked as a Hanford Police officer. He is charged with falsifying police reports and drug possession. He resigned from the department the same day.

In Newark, New Jersey, a former Newark police officer was convicted last Friday of shaking down drug dealers for cash, guns, and dope. Darious Smith was indicted in 2004 along with half a dozen other Neward police officers, and a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to commit official misconduct, official misconduct and theft. Five witnesses, including a former patrol partner, testified that he stole cash from dealers and planted guns and drugs on them.

In Miami, a former Hialeah Gardens police officer was convicted Monday of ripping off marijuana dealers and selling their stashes. Lawrence Perez, 44, and four other area men stole 10 pounds in one faked traffic stop and 14 pounds in another. They were also plotting to hit a major marijuana grow, but the FBI, DEA, and Miami-Dade police were onto them by then. Perez, a former detective, is looking at up to 40 years in federal prison. He will be sentenced July 26.

In Hartford, Connecticut, a former New York police officer was sentenced last Friday to 37 months in federal prison for taking bribes to let a drug courier go unmolested through a New York airport. Former Westchester County police officer Michael Brady, 36, took $20,000 in payoffs from drug dealers. He had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of extortion and receiving a bribe. Brady had been assigned to the Westchester County Airport, where a drug dealer regularly passed traveling between Connecticut and Florida. Brady went down after the dealer got caught up in a federal investigation of his oxycodone smuggling ring.

In Brownsville, Texas, a former reserve law enforcement officer was sentenced Monday to 13 year in federal prison after he was caught coming over a bridge from Mexico with 20 pounds of cocaine and heroin. Mercedes Perez, 55, was a Nueces County Constable's reserve officer when he got caught. He was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute heroin and cocaine and possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A pot-growing prosecutor, a heroin-filled burrito-smuggling deputy, and a cop who made a habit of ripping off drug dealers at a nightclub all made the news this week. Let's get to it:

In Ukiah, California, a Mendocino County prosecutor was put on paid leave April 26 while sheriff's deputies investigate his connection to a marijuana garden found at his home. Deputy District Attorney Sergio Fuentes has not been arrested, nor has his mother, with whom he shares the home. Sheriff's deputies said they found 150 plants growing there. Fuentes works in the District Attorney's criminal division.

In Los Angeles, an LA County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty Monday to smuggling heroin-filled burritos into a courthouse jail. Deputy Henry Marin, 27, got caught bringing the burritos into an airport-area courthouse where he worked. He pleaded guilty to bringing drugs into a jail and conspiracy to commit a crime. Sentencing has been set for June 25. Sawyer has been relieved of duty.

In Savannah, Georgia, a former Savannah-Chatham police officer was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison for ripping off drug dealers at a night club where he worked private security and reselling the drugs himself. Floyd Sawyer was originally charged with drug trafficking conspiracy, extortion, possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, and lying to federal agents, but copped a plea to a single count of extortion. He and another Savannah-Chatham police officer worked security at the night club while in uniform and carrying their department-issued weapons. Sawyer was arrested in May 2010 and fired the following September. He has to report to prison by June 1.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

It's been a quiet week on the corrupt cop front, but we still have a pair of California cops who thought they were the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and an Oklahoma cop who couldn't keep his fingers out of the cookie jar--and some late-breaking news out of LA. Let's get to it:

In Los Angeles, two current and two former TSA screeners at LAX were arrested Wednesday by DEA agents and US marshals on federal charges they allowed large shipments of cocaine, meth, and marijuana to pass through security checkpoints. Current agents John Whitfield, 23, and Capeline Kinney, 25, and former agents Joy White, 27, and Naral Richardson,30, all face multiple federal drug trafficking conspiracy charges involving loads of four or more pounds of meth and 20 or more pounds of cocaine. It's unclear how they went down, but the DEA also reported it had taken one drug courier into custody and expected another one to turn himself in Wednesday.The four are accused of taking cash payments of as much as $2,400 to allow suitcases filled with dope to pass through X-ray machines at Los Angeles International Airport. All four are looking at up to life in prison.

In Alexandria, Virginia, a California police officer and a former officer were arrested last Tuesday as they showed up to deliver 27 pounds of marijuana. Selma police officer Frederick Sayles, 34, former Selma police officer Gabriel Sepeda, 38, and another man were arrested by DEA agents who were part of a task force with Alexandria police. All three are charged with conspiracy to import marijuana and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Additional charges might be pending, police said. At last report, all three men are being held without bond at the Alexandria Adult Detention Center. Preliminary hearings for them are scheduled for May 21.

In McHenry, Oklahoma, a McHenry police officer was arrested last Tuesday on charges he stole money confiscated during a drug arrest. Police discovered the money was missing during a routine audit and zeroed in on Officer Dale Hojnacki, 35. He is now a former officer, having resigned following his arrest, and he is charged with felony theft of more than $500. He was taken to the McHenry County Jail on a $15,000 bond. Silly officer! Only the state gets to take money in a drug arrest, not the state's agents.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week, we have a grab bag of crooked law enforcement types, including a big city cop, a probation officer, a prosecutor, and a TSA agent. Let's get to it:

In Durham, North Carolina, a state probation officer was arrested last Thursday on drug trafficking charges. Todd Tronzo, 35, faces four counts of trafficking Schedule I drugs, two counts of possession with the intent to manufacture, sell or deliver Schedule I drugs, two counts of maintaining a vehicle for the sale or possession of controlled substances, and one count each of trafficking by transportation, trafficking by possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was being held in the Vance County jail under a $1 million bond. Police said the arrest was part of an ongoing investigation. Tronzo has been a probation officer with the Division of Community Correction since February 2007 and is now on "unapproved leave."

In North Bergen, New Jersey, a North Bergen municipal prosecutor was arrested last Friday on charges he was involved in a marijuana distribution network that shipped up to a thousand pounds of pot from Northern California. Marcanton Macri, 44, is charged with money laundering and financial facilitation. Macri was caught up in the investigation of two local men who were making regular trips to California's Emerald Triangle area and sending weed back to Jersey from various Northern California post offices. That pair used the services of a local assistant bank manager to help deal with their cash, and Macri is accused of facilitating that relationship. He has been suspended from his prosecutor's gig.

In New Haven, Connecticut, a former Transportation Security Administration officer pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in a pain pill trafficking ring. Jonathan Best, 30, copped to a single count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone. He accepted $2,500 from a trafficker and $1,000 from an undercover law enforcement officer to allow the trafficker to pass through security at Palm Beach International Airport with thousands of pills that he believed were to be sold in Connecticut. But the trafficker was a snitch, and Best went down. He's looking at up to 20 years.

In Houston, a former Houston police sergeant was sentenced last Thursday to 15 years in federal prison for taking a bribe and, while in uniform, using his patrol car to escort a load of cocaine. Leslie Aikens, 47, was convicted of corruption charges last fall after getting burnt in a sting operation by the FBI and the Texas Rangers. Investigators had received a tip that Aikens was dirty, and arranged for him to escort a load of 15 pounds of cocaine coming into Houston.  In return, he was to be paid $2,000. Aikens' defense argued unsuccessfully that he didn't know drugs were involved and he thought he was escorting a load of beer.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More pain pill peddling, plus a pervy DARE officer, and a Hawaii cop with a medical marijuana card who was allegedly up to more than maintaining his own health. Let's get to it:

In Glasgow, West Virginia, a Glasgow police officer was arrested last Thursday on charges he was peddling pain pills. Donald Scott Wills, 43, went down after an informant told police he had engaged in multiple drug transactions with Wills, and that Wills had bought drugs while in uniform and while in his police cruiser. Police set up surveillance of an area home, where the informant sold 30 oxycodone tablets to Wills, who gave him $30 and said he would pay the rest of the money for the pills once he got rid of them. He was then arrested on a single count of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

In Edwardsville, Illinois, an Edwardsville Police DARE officer was arrested Monday on charges he was taking surreptitious videos of women undressing at a tanning salon. Officer Michael Collins, 46, went down after a customer at the tanning salon complained she saw him videotaping her with his cell phone over a wall as she prepared for a tanning session. Police confiscated his cell phone and found videos of at least two other women. Collins is charged with felony unauthorized video recording and has been suspended with pay by the department.  He's free on his own recognizance.

In Honolulu, a Honolulu police officer was arrested Tuesday on charges he was involved in a marijuana grow operation. Officer Michael Chu, 41, is facing federal marijuana possession, distribution, and cultivation charges. While Chu has a medical marijuana card, the feds allege that they uncovered a marijuana sales ring. They seized $12,000 in cash, about 20 pot plants, and found a pound of marijuana and several money orders in Chu's police car. The bust went down after Fedex reported a suspicious package from California that turned out to contain eight clones.Last year, the DEA intercepted a package containing 14 pounds of marijuana that was destined for the same address.

In Rogersville, Arkansas, a Hawkins County jail guard was arrested Tuesday on charges he was peddling pain pills. David Wayne "Big Time" Richards went down after the sheriff's office received a tip that he was involved in pill trafficking. Deputies used an informant to set up a drug buy, then pulled Richards over in a traffic stop. They seized 1,345 10-milligram Lortab pills and $650 in cash. Richards was charged with possession of Schedule III narcotics with intent to deliver and as of Tuesday evening was being held on $100,000 bond pending arraignment May 2. He was fired from his jailer position, too. Richards is a well-known figure in the community, having served as an alderman in the town of Surgoinville, but he is best known for dressing up as Santa Claus for an annual Christian motorcycle charity "Toy Run." He's looking at two to four years in prison.

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