Police Corruption

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Lawsuit Filed in Camden Police Drug Planting Scheme

Location: 
NJ
United States
Drug prohibition has long been corrupting law enforcement in many ways. Now, the ACLU has taken Camden County and New Jersey officials to federal court on behalf of a man who spent more than a year in jail on drug charges, which were dismissed after the cops who arrested him were charged with planting evidence on him and many others.
Publication/Source: 
KYW (PA)
URL: 
http://kyw.cbslocal.com/2010/09/17/lawsuit-filed-in-camden-police-drug-planting-scheme/

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

One narcotics supervisor sexually assaults a female snitch, another makes off with the drug buy money. A pair of jail guards go down after getting caught having sex in a car in a parking lot. And that's just for starters. Let's get to it:

where's the cash?
In Athens, Ohio, the head of the Athens County Narcotics Task Force was arraigned last Friday on charges he sexually assaulted a female undercover informant. Deputy Jerry Hallowell, 43, faces three counts of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual battery. The sexual batteries occurred August 6, September 3, and September 5, while the attempted battery occurred on September 9. Hallowell is looking at up to 16 years in prison if convicted on all counts. He is out on $50,000 bond and has been suspended with pay pending further action by the department.

In Syracuse, New York, a former Syracuse police officer pleaded guilty Monday to charges he ran a drug trafficking operation from his home and sexually abused two teenage boys. Fredrick Baunee, 49, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one felony count of fourth-degree conspiracy. He was arrested in May for running a drug ring from his home and using the teens as dealers and for sexual activities. Braun was suspended from the police force in 2007 and retired after being convicted of giving alcohol to and inappropriately touching a 14-year-old boy. He will be sentenced to seven years in prison, but remains free on $100,000 bail until formal sentencing in November.

In Durham, North Carolina, a former Durham County narcotics supervisor was indicted September 7 for allegedly stealing nearly $100,000 in sheriff's department funds for paying informants and making drug buys. Former Lt. Derek O'Mary faces 26 counts of embezzlement and one count each of obstructing justice and possession of cocaine. O'Mary, 43, was an 18-year veteran of the sheriff's office and had risen through the ranks to a lieutenant supervising the Sheriff’s Anti-Crime & Narcotics Unit. He was fired in April 2009 after his own narcs snitched him out.

In Gaffney, South Carolina, money from a recent drug bust has gone missing and the Cherokee County sheriff wants to know where it went. Sheriff Bill Blanton has called in the State Law Enforcement Division to try to find out what happened to the undisclosed amount of cash missing from the Cherokee County narcotics division

In Philadelphia, three former Philadelphia police officers already facing corruption charges were hit with new ones September 9. Robert Snyder, Jamez Venziale, and Mark Williams were charged in July with plotting with a suspected drug dealer to steal drugs in a staged traffic stop. Now the three face additional charges of possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school. Snyder and Williams were also charged with planning to rob a man they believed was a mobster collecting gambling proceeds. Authorities say that plot was never carried out. 

In Lebanon, Ohio, two former Warren Correctional Institution guards were indicted last Friday on drug charges after they were caught having sex in a vehicle with hundreds of pills and a note about inmates getting illegal drugs. Annika Skinner, 36, faces nine counts of deception to obtain drugs and a single misdemeanor drug possession count. Herbert Cook, 61, faces one count of drug trafficking. Skinner is looking at up to 19 years in prison and Cook is looking at one. Both had resigned as prison guards in July as authorities investigated after they were discovered going at it in May in a parking lot. Police recovered more than 100 pills, as well as plastic bags and the note indicating inmates were getting drugs. Both are free on bail.

In Sonora, California, a former prison guard at the Sierra Conservation Center was sentenced last week to a year in county jail for smuggling marijuana to an inmate. Matthew McCollum, 28, was convicted of bringing pot to an inmate in 2008 and 2009.

In Graceville, Georgia, a Graceville Correctional Facility guard was arrested September 8 on charges he planned to smuggle marijuana into the jail. Guard Brandon Sikora, 21, went down after agreeing to take a half-pound of pot into the jail and pocketing $2,000 for his efforts. The man who Sikora met with was a police informant. Now Sikora is charged with attempting to introduce contraband into a secure facility and possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute. He has also been placed on suspension from the correctional facility pending the outcome of an investigation.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Why do I feel like I just keep writing the same stories of law enforcement venality over and over again? More crooked jail guards, more sticky-fingered cops, more cops on the take, and another pervert power-tripper cop. Let's get to it:

too much cash can corrupt cops
In Graceville, Florida, a prison guard was arrested last Friday for trying to smuggle pot into the prison. Graceville Correctional Facility guard Brandon Sikora, 21, is charged with attempting to introduce contraband into a secure facility and possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute. He went down in a sting after agreeing to meet a police informant, who gave him half a pound of marijuana to carry into the prison and $2,000 for his efforts. He's now suspended from his job, too.

In Riviera Beach, Florida, a Riviera Beach police officer was fired August 26 over allegations he had a relationship with violent drug dealers. Officer Nathan Gordon had been on administrative leave since July while the department's Internal Affairs Division investigates. He is now accused of providing the home addresses of fellow officers to drug gang enforcers. No word yet on any possible criminal charges.

In San Antonio, Texas, a San Antonio police officer was arrested August 31 for allegedly sexually abusing a young woman he pulled over and found had a small amount of marijuana and a pipe. Officer James McClure is charged with official oppression and is out on a $3,500 bond. McLure allegedly made the victim follow him to business center, where he strip searched her, groped her, and gave her pot back. The victim also claims McClure asked her for her phone number and called her for a date after a previous stop. He is on indefinite suspension.

In Milwaukee, a former Milwaukee police officer and state drug agent was sentenced September 2 to six months of house arrest after being caught stealing money in an FBI sting. Johnny Santiago was arrested in March after being filmed pocketing $1,100 of $17,000 found by him and other police officers during a drug investigation. He was working as a drug agent for the state Department of Justice at the time.

In Atlanta, a former Atlanta police officer pleaded guilty September 2 to federal charges after getting caught in a sting where the drug dealers he thought he was protecting were actually undercover FBI agents. Lucius Solomon III, 31, was charged in March with attempting to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and possessing a firearm while participating in multiple cocaine sales. In the plea bargain, the gun charge was dropped. The nine-year veteran is now out on bail awaiting sentencing.

Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed more than 28,000 people, the government reported in August. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of dozens of high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/labarbie.jpg
La Barbie, captured
Friday, August 27

In Monterrey, the State Department told staff to send their children away from the city due to the ongoing drug-related violence. As of September 10th, no minor dependents will be allowed. Other diplomatic postings with a similar rule include Baghdad, Kabul, and Sa’naa, Yemen. The decision comes after a botched kidnapping attempt at a school attended by many of the children of US consulate staff.

In Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, a car bomb exploded outside the local offices of Televisa. Nobody was wounded in the blast.

Sunday, August 29

In Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, the mayor was shot dead after being ambushed. Marco Antonio Leal Garcia was 46 years old. His four-year old daughter was seriously wounded in the attack.

In Reynosa, two car bombs were detonated near a morgue in which the bodies of 72 murdered migrants are being held. Fifteen people were wounded by the blasts.

In Panuco, Veracruz, at least eight people were killed after a 15-hour firefight between soldiers and suspected cartel gunmen.  One soldier and one civilian were killed, as well as six gunmen.

Monday, August 30

Near Mexico City, police captured Edgar Valdez Villareal, a top drug cartel boss and the leader of a faction of the Beltran-Leyva Organization. Valdez, also known as "La Barbie," is thought to be responsible for much of the violence in Central Mexico in recent months as he battled his former ally Hector Beltran-Leyva for control of the Beltran-Leyva Organization, which was left leaderless after Marines shot dead Arturo Beltran-Leyva in December.

In Cancun, eight people were killed after a bar was firebombed. Four of the dead were women. The same bar had reported two extortion attempts in the past, apparently by the Zetas Organization.

In Mexico City, police announced that 3,200 federal police officers have been fired after failing drug and lie detector tests, or having assets which could not be accounted for. A separate batch of 465 officers is due to be fired in Juarez. Among them is a police commander who was detained at gunpoint by his own men who were angry at his misconduct.

In Ciudad Juarez, authorities announced that celebrations for Mexico's bicentennial on September 16th were to be canceled due to the ongoing violence. Independence Day is Mexico's most important national day and public gatherings to celebrate are an integral part of the culture of most towns and cities.

Wednesday, September 1

In Ciudad Juarez, at least ten people were murdered across the city. Three of the victims were minors aged 11, 13 and 16. The killings bring Ciudad Juarez's 2010 total to approximately 2,039.

Total Body Count for the Week: 239

Total Body Count for the Year: 7,570

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Oh, temptation, such a torment for the weak-willed. A South Carolina cop peddles his drug dog's training dope, an Iowa cop gets caught with a bunch of coke, and a Florida trooper is profiling out-of-state pain patients and stealing their medicine. Let's get to it:

police officer with drug dog, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
In Swansea, South Carolina, a Swansea police officer was arrested Monday for allegedly selling "training drugs" to people in the community. Charles Schuler, 37, was a K-9 officer and would be given small amounts of drugs to train his dog. But the department got a tip that Schuler was visiting a "known drug house" while on duty, and when police raided the place Monday, two people inside said Schuler supplied them with drugs. He is charged with misconduct in office and is being held at the Lexington County Detention Center on $100,000 bond. Oh, and he's now a former Swansea police officer. He was fired the same day he was arrested.

In Muscatine, Iowa, a Muscatine police officer was arrested Saturday after getting busted with 1.5 ounces of cocaine. Officer Scott Burk, 47, is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and a drug tax stamp violation, both felonies. He's looking at up to 15 years in prison if convicted on both counts. His arrest came after an investigation by the Iowa Bureau of Investigation, which has so far not released further details. Burk had worked an overnight patrol shift since November, but for a year before that, he had been an officer on the Muscatine County Drug Task Force. Last month, the state auditor reported that at least $8,810 in cash and money orders held by the task force could not be accounted for. Burk has not been named as a suspect in that. He is jailed on a $2,500 cash bond. He has been fired.

In Fort Pierce, Florida, a former Florida Highway Patrol trooper faces a drug possession charge after being accused of targeting cars with Kentucky and Tennessee license plates and stealing prescription drugs from their drivers and passengers. Former trooper Gary Bach faces one count of misdemeanor oxycodone possession. He went down after two separate complaints, one that alleged the theft of six Oyxcontin pills in October, and one in January in which a trooper was accused of stopping a vehicle because it had Kentucky plates. During an investigation that included the DEA, Bach told investigators it was "common knowledge" that people from Kentucky and Tennessee drove to Florida pain clinics to get prescriptions and that for two weeks last November he didn't stop anyone except people from those states as he investigated "doctor shopping." He was charged in May and resigned August 24.

More Than 3,000 Mexican Cops Fired Amid Drug Wars

Location: 
Mexico
Mexico’s Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas said today that 3,000 police officers have been fired since May. Six of those officers have been charged in the death a murdered mayor. Rosas said the fired cops were either linked to corruption or failed to do their jobs.
Publication/Source: 
HULIQ Media (NC)
URL: 
http://www.huliq.com/10178/3000-mexican-cops-fired-amid-drug-wars-and-mayoral-assassinations

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Texas DA plays funny with the drug money, so does a Baltimore narc, and cops in Alabama, Georgia, and Oklahoma join the hall of shame. Let's get to it:

too much cash can corrupt cops
In East Brewton, Alabama, a former East Brewton police officer was arrested August 17 for helping his brother burglarize a pharmacy and steal prescription drugs. Former East Brewton Police Lt. Matthew Kirk, 36, was indicted on two counts of burglary, third degree; one count of theft of property, second degree; and one count of an ethics violation. Kirk went down after his brother got popped selling stolen Xanax in Florida and ratted him out. When the brother's hotel room was searched, police found Xanax, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, and hydrocodone, according to previous reports. Kirk is currently being held at the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton on a $100,000 bond.

 In Alice, Texas, the former Jim Wells County district attorney was indicted August 18 for illegally spending more than $200,000 in asset forfeiture funds on himself and three others in his office. Former DA Joe Frank Garza is charged with first-degree felony misapplication of fiduciary property. While the federal indictment uses the $200,000 figure, an audit by Garza's successor found that the former DA had paid $1.2 million in seized funds to his three staff members and $81,000 to himself between 2002 and 2008. The audit found money transferred to employees for car allowances, stipends, reimbursements, advances, audits, travel and contract labor. Under Texas law, DAs may use asset forfeiture funds to supplement staff salaries, but only with the permission of county commissioners. Garza never sought that approval. He was voted out of office in 2008.

In Atlanta, a Clayton County police officer was indicted August 18 on charges he protected drug deals and stole money and guns from drivers during traffic stops. Clayton County Police Officer Jonathan Callahan, 27, faces nine federal charges, including three counts of aiding and abetting the distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine, two counts of theft for stealing a firearm from a motorist and money from another, and possession of a stolen firearm.

In Baltimore, a former Baltimore narcotics detective was sentenced August 18 to 20 months in federal prison for stealing money that was supposed to be used to pay snitches and stealing property found during drug raids. Former narc Mark Lunsford admitted pocketing $10,000 that he fraudulently claimed had been paid to an informant. He also admitted feeding information about a suspect to that same informant that allowed for a drug raid to take place, then claimed the informant had given him the information and asked for a 20% bonus for the informant, which the two then split. He also admitted to filing false reports and affidavits and stealing several items of expensive jewelry.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a Tulsa Police officer who admitted committing crimes was fired August 19 after a Tulsa Police internal investigation revealed he had 'fessed up to the FBI during its investigation of the Tulsa corruption scandal that just keeps on giving. Officer Eric Hill was fired after making admissions during a June 7 interview with the FBI and federal prosecutors. He told the feds he had "replaced" drugs that officers failed to find at drug raids with dope that he or other officers brought to the scene. He also admitted receiving $500 stolen during a drug investigation.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Hey, cops: Don't give crack to hookers' boyfriends, don't rip people off and traffic dope, don't seize dope without turning it in, and don't get wasted on meth you stole and crash your cruiser. If only this week's crew had followed those simple instructions, they wouldn't be in trouble now. But they are. Let's get to it:

In Austin, Texas, a former Austin police officer was convicted Tuesday of giving crack cocaine to a man who was the boyfriend of a prostitute he knew. Scott Lando, 48, was convicted of delivery of a controlled substance. He also faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and prostitution. The crack incident took place in 2006. He was fired in 2008. He is out on bail.

In Jackson, Mississippi, two Jackson police officers were arrested last Friday on a variety of charges for stealing money from the home of a man who had been robbed. Officers Marvent Brooks, 35, and David Dreblow, 25, are charged with theft over $1,000, two counts of official misconduct, tampering with evidence and witness coercion. But there will be more to come. In a search of Brooks' home after the arrests, authorities found marijuana, crack pipes, a digital scale, gas grenades, homemade silencers and guns, according to a search warrant. The search warrant specified that authorities were looking for "photographs or electronic recordings regarding narcotics possession or trafficking." Both officers are out on $5,000 bail. Authorities said any additional charges against Brooks resulting from the search warrant will be presented to a grand jury.

In Felicity, Ohio, a Clermont County police officer pleaded not guilty August 12 to a charge of tampering with evidence. Felicity Police Capt. Delmas Pack was arrested last month and is accused of taking drugs off someone he stopped. The drugs were allegedly "not handled properly." Prosecutors have said little more about the case.

In Des Moines, Iowa, a former Pleasant Hill police officer pleaded guilty August 12 to drug and burglary charges for stealing methamphetamine from an evidence room. Former Sgt. Daniel Edwards, 42, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance, operating while intoxicated, and third-degree burglary. Edwards went down after he crashed his cruiser on April 1. He was fired after a drug test showed he had meth in his system when he crashed.

Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed more than 28,000 people, the government reported this month. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest of dozens of high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:

Thursday, August 5

In Ciudad Juarez, eleven people were killed in various incidents across the city. In one case, a 20-year old woman was shot dead as she walked with a 4-year old girl, who escaped unscathed. In another incident, an apparent extortionist was shot and killed after a shoot-out with security guards. Drug trafficking organizations across Mexico are also involved in extortion.

Friday, August 6

In Matamoros, at least 14 inmates were killed during a clash between rival gangs inside the prison. Troops from the Mexican army were eventually sent into the facility to restore order. It is unclear which groups participated in the fighting, but much of the recent violence in the Matamoros area been the result of fighting between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas Organization.

Saturday, August 7

In Mexico City, thousands of journalists marched to protest the killings and disappearances of journalists due to prohibition-related violence in the country. Similar protests were planned in Sinaloa and Chihuahua. Over 60 Mexican journalists have been killed since 2000. This year, the Committee to Protect Journalists says that 10 journalists have been killed, and many face daily threats to their lives and harassment.

Sunday, August 8

In Ciudad Juarez, over 200 armed federal police officers raided the hotel where their commander, Salomon Alarcon,  was staying. After blocking off the streets to prevent his escape, they detained Alarcon at gunpoint, accusing him of having planted drugs on officers to force them to become involved in extortion plots. The officers found weapons and drugs in his hotel room. The officer was held captive until the Federal Police Commissioner General agreed to suspend him pending a full investigation into the allegations. It was later found that Alarcon was on the payroll of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Also in Ciudad Juarez, two federal police officers were shot dead as they walked in plainclothes through the center of the city at night. A large police operation was immediately launched, but no arrests or confrontations occurred.

In Palomas, Chihuahua, three severed heads were discovered in the main plaza as locals left Sunday mass. A charred SUV with the headless bodies was discovered south of the town. A note left with the bodies indicate that the victims were extortionists who were killed by a rival criminal organization. Last October, the mayor of Palomas was kidnapped and found murdered.

Monday, August 9

At a forum in Puerto Vallarta, Mexican authorities said that drug-trafficking organizations pay an estimated $100 million in bribes monthly to municipal police officials. According to Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna, this estimate is based on officer perceptions and on a list of payouts to police officers that was seized during recent operations. He also said that 20% of municipal police officers make less than $79 a month, and 60% make less than $317 a month.

In Morelos, seven people were killed in prohibition-related violence. Among the dead were three men who were decapitated in the town of Ahuatepec. In Ciudad Juarez, police discovered the dismembered body of an officer.

Tuesday, August 10

In Morelos, 10-12 heavily armed men ambushed a police convoy carrying a high-profile prisoner to jail. Two officers and the prisoner were killed in the ambush. Mario Alberto Chavez Traconi, 54, was known as the King of Fraud. The ambush occurred after the police convoy was cut off by SUV's and the gunmen attacked the police officers with assault rifles.

Total Body Count for the Week: 146

Total Body Count for the Year: 6,994

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.

Mexico

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

If we can't keep drugs out of the prisons, how can we keep them out of the country?
In Oklahoma City, an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) agent was arrested Tuesday by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents in a scheme authorities said was shipping weapons to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. OBN Agent Francisco Javier Reyes Luna, 29, faces two counts of providing false statements in violation of federal guns laws and one count of providing a restricted weapon to a person not licensed to own it for using a straw purchaser to buy five AK-47 semi-automatic rifles from a gun shop and for giving a .50 caliber Barrett semi-automatic rifle to an unknown individual. He may be facing more charges, if the federal complaint is any indication. He's out on $25,000 bail right now.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, one man was released from prison and another had charges dropped in a police corruption scandal that continues to fester. So far, 14 people have been freed from prison or had charges dropped in the scandal in which six former and current police officers have been charged in federal court with offenses including drug conspiracy, perjury, witness tampering and civil rights violations. Two men, former Tulsa Police officer John Gray and former US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent Brandon McFadden have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors. Gray admitted to lying on search warrant affidavits in the case of Hugo Gutierrez, who was released from federal prison last Friday. Gray also admitted stealing $10,000 from Gutierrez when he arrested him. Charges against Deon White were dropped July 29. His case is one of 53 associated with undercover Tulsa Police Officer Jeff Henderson, who was indicted July 20 on 58 counts of drug conspiracy, perjury, witness tampering and civil rights violations, federal court records show. The Tulsa World is keeping track of it all here.

In Austin, Texas, a former Austin police officer went on trial Tuesday for having sex with a hooker while on duty and paying her with drugs. Scott Michael Lando faces charges of prostitution, delivery of a controlled substance, misuse of official information, and aggravated assault by a public servant for a series of incidents dating back to May 2006. This trial only deals with four prostitution counts and will feature the hooker, who will testify that Lando gave her drugs and other items in return for sex. Prosecutors already told the court Lando had access to drug dealers and got drugs from them. The state will decide later whether to move forward on the other counts.

In Barboursville, West Virginia, a Western Regional Jail guard was arrested August 3 after getting caught in a sting by authorities. Nathaniel Shawn Johnson, 22, went down after the West Virginia State Police got a tip that he was bringing drugs and tobacco into the jail. They then used an undercover officer, who paid Johnson $300 after he agreed to buy and deliver Oxycontin and tobacco to the jail. He is charged with conspiracy and bringing a weapon onto jail grounds (he had a .22 rifle in his pickup).

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