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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Cops in LA and New York get caught lying about drug busts, a couple of Indiana cops get in trouble, an Alabama cop is headed for prison, and, of course, more jail guards get caught. Let's get to it:

In New York City, a bar owner whose surveillance video exposed bogus drug arrests by NYPD officers is now complaining that he is being harassed by the NYPD. Eduardo Espinoza, 36, of Elmhurst, complained that police from the 110th Precinct have been regularly entering, searching, and "inspecting" his bar, and hitting him with violations such as failure to have liquid soap in his bar bathroom. The harassment came after a video Espinoza made available to lawyers for four people arrested for allegedly dealing $100 worth of cocaine showed officers had lied when they said they made contact with the four while in the bar. Queens prosecutors dropped the charges against the four last week, and NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the arresting officers.

In Los Angeles, three LAPD officers have been reassigned as the department investigates allegations they lied under oath in a recently dismissed drug possession case. In that case, LAPD Officer Richard Amio and Chino Officer Evan Samuel testified that they chased a young man into a Hollywood apartment building, saw him toss a black object, and found $260 worth of cocaine in it. But a surveillance videotape from the apartment building showed that police did not find anything for at least 20 minutes, after additional officers arrived at the scene. One of the new arrivals was credited for the "find," and on the videotape, another officer talking about the arrest report, was heard to say "Be creative in your writing." After this evidence was presented in court last week, the judge dismissed the cocaine case. The now-cleared arrestee's defense attorney said the officers should be investigated for perjury and planting evidence. That investigation is now under way.

In East Chicago, Indiana, an East Chicago police officer was arrested July 3 after a DEA source recorded him on videotape trying to buy three kilos of cocaine. Veteran officer Xavier Herrera was jailed pending a Wednesday bail hearing. According to the DEA affidavit filed against Herrera, he was acting as the middleman in a cocaine transaction that involved a DEA informant. The DEA got interested in Herrera after a man arrested on meth charges in March told police he had delivered 20 kilos of cocaine to the home of an East Chicago police officer. The suspect then placed a recorded call to Herrera in which the officer agreed to discuss another cocaine sale. The suspect then vanished, becoming a fugitive from justice, and the DEA replaced him with an informant who told Herrera he was an associate of the missing man. Herrera went down after agreeing to do another coke deal with the informant.

In Indianapolis, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police narc was arrested June 27 for selling a weapon to a snitch with a felony record after that snitch snitched him out. Officer Jason Barber, 32, an eight-year veteran, became the fourth Indy police officer to be arrested last month -- three others were busted June 16 for ripping off pot and cash from dealers. Barber went down after the Indiana State Police turned his snitch and sent him in with a wire and $110 in marked cash to buy a .25 caliber handgun. Barber sold it to him despite knowing of his felonious record, and it was at least the third handgun Barber sold him, prosecutors said. They charged him with selling a handgun to a felon and official misconduct. The handgun charge is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison. Official misconduct is a Class D felony that carries a maximum of three years in prison.

In New York City, two Rikers Island prison guards were fired late last month for smuggling marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco into the prison for an accused cop-killer. Correction officers August Durand, 31, and Michael Santiago, 24, were fired for supplying the contraband to inmate Lee Woods as he awaited trial for gunning down NYPD officer Russel Timoshenko. They are not accused of large-scale smuggling. The case has been referred to the Bronx District Attorneys Office and the Department of Investigation.

In Lexington, Kentucky, a Fayette County Detention Center jail guard was resigned June 23 after being charged with promotion of contraband. Corrections officer Daniel Houlihan is accused of smuggling illegal drugs into the jail. The detention center is the subject of a federal investigation that has so far led to five other jail guards being charged with beating inmates and covering it up. But Houlihan's arrest wasn't related to that investigation, authorities said.

In Shreveport, Louisiana, a former Shreveport police sergeant was convicted June 28 on drug delivery charges that could net him up to 30 years in prison. A jury took less than two hours to convict former Sgt. Rickey Moore, 52, of providing cocaine and prescription pain pills to a dancer at a local strip club. The dancer turned police informant, and conversations and voicemails she recorded with Moore helped convict him. So did surveillance video from the club that showed him giving drugs to the stripper turned snitch. Moore was a patrol sergeant and 17-year veteran of the department.

Lunatic Easily Convinces Police He's a Federal Drug Agent

What happens when a crazy person tells local police he's a federal agent and offers to help them fight drugs?

Busts began. Houses were ransacked. People, in handcuffs on their front lawns, named names. To some, like Mayor Otis Schulte, who considers the county around Gerald, population 1,171, “a meth capital of the United States,” the drug scourge seemed to be fading at last.

Those whose homes were searched, though, grumbled about a peculiar change in what they understood, from television mainly, to be the law.

They said the agent, a man some had come to know as “Sergeant Bill,” boasted that he did not need search warrants to enter their homes because he worked for the federal government.


Sergeant Bill, it turned out, was no federal agent, but Bill A. Jakob, an unemployed former trucking company owner, a former security guard, a former wedding-performing minister, a former small-town cop from 23 miles down the road. [New York Times]

The whole thing provides yet another exhibit in the colossal incompetence that has become so routine and predictable in the war on drugs. If some nutjob showed up at the fire department with a badge and an axe, they'd tell him to hit the road. They wouldn't follow him in and out of burning buildings.

It is precisely because of the massive multi-tiered drug war bureaucracy that his psychotic scheme seemed somehow plausible to everyone. Drug enforcement is the one occupation so lacking in accountability, so consumed by macho tough-guy posturing, that some maniac can just walk through the door and fit right in. It's a match made in hell.

And it wasn't even the cops who figured out he was an imposter. It was a reporter, months into this mindboggling hoax. Even when he recklessly and routinely violated suspects' constitutional rights, the police who followed him around never thought anything of it. That's how easy it is. His flagrantly illegal and incompetent behavior actually made them think he was real.

That this even happened is a potent testament to the fact that drug enforcement in America is thoroughly rotten and diseased to its core. If you see vultures circling around something, you know it is not healthy.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

An Ohio jailer, a Connecticut cop, and a pair of Florida deputies get busted, a Louisiana cop goes on trial, a Texas constable cops a plea, and so does a Texas US Border Patrol Agent. Let's get to it:

In Toledo, Ohio, a Lucas County corrections officer was arrested June 18 after authorities with a warrant searched his home and found cocaine, scales, baggies, and cash. Thomas Walker, 24, was charged with permitting drug abuse. The two-year veteran of the sheriff's department has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of his case.

In Waterbury, Connecticut, a Waterbury police officer was arrested Monday for allegedly warning a friend he was the target of a drug investigation. Officer Israel Lugo, 29, is charged with illegally disclosing information about a state police drug investigation that netted 20 pounds of marijuana. He allegedly used a police computer to check the license plate of a state police undercover car for a friend whose home was raided last week. The friend suspected he was being tailed by police and called Lugo for help.

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, two Broward County sheriff's deputies were charged Monday with acting as guards for supposed drug loads in a federal sting. Deputy Richard Tauber, 37, was arrested last week and promptly agreed to snitch on his colleague, Deputy Kevin Frankle, 38. Tauber is accused of helping load a plane with what he thought were 50 kilos of cocaine, while Frankle stood watch. Bail was set at $60,000 for Tauber; Frankle was awaiting a Thursday bail hearing.

In Shreveport, Louisiana, a former Shreveport police officer went on trial this week for alleged drug-peddling. Former Officer Roderick Moore, 52, faces two counts of drug distribution. Moore's downhill slide began last August, when he was suspended from the force after a drunk driving arrest. Then, in November, he was arrested on the drug charges and fired. That bust went down after the Caddo-Shreveport Narcotics Task Force received information he was selling drugs. Moore faces one other drug charge -- a possession beef in Bossier Parish stemming from the November search of his home.

In Brownsville, Texas, a Cameron County constable pleaded guilty June 19 to selling drugs he stole from the evidence locker. Former Precinct 1 Constable Saul Ochoa copped to one federal count of distributing 10 pounds of marijuana. He may have made off with up to 175 pounds of marijuana stored under his control. According to evidence logs, 190 pounds should have been in storage, but federal investigators could only find 15 pounds the day they arrested Ochoa. Now, county authorities are trying to figure out how to handle drug cases where the evidence has gone missing.

In McAllen, Texas, a former Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying about his failure to document cocaine he seized. Juan Espinoza, 31, copped a plea to making false statements or entries after internal investigators found a duffel bag full of cocaine he had seized but not reported. Espinoza is free on bond pending a September 16 sentencing date. He faces up to five years in prison.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Trouble in the Hoosier State this week, with some Indy cops busted for ripping off pot dealers and selling their wares and a Muncie drug task force being investigated over its asset forfeiture practices. Also, a Wyoming jailer steals his cop father's drug dog pot stash, and a Massachusetts cop cops a plea. Let's get to it:

In Indianapolis, three Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers were arrested Tuesday for allegedly participating in a marijuana trafficking ring. Officers James Davis, 33, Jason Edwards, 37, and Robert Long, 34, were arrested by FBI agents after a federal indictment charging them with conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute was unsealed Tuesday morning. Long, a narcotics detective, was described as the leader of the conspiracy and is accused of illegally seizing the drug and informing a fourth defendant he was under investigation. Edwards is accused of illegally seizing marijuana and money, and the indictment says Davis illegally entered apartments to steal marijuana and money.

In Gillette, Wyoming, a former Gillette police officer and Campbell County jailer was arrested last Friday for stealing marijuana and giving it to a woman currently in prison on drug charges. Thomas Brent Clark, 23, stole the marijuana from a vehicle belonging to his father, a canine officer for the Uinta County Sheriff's Department. His father kept the marijuana in the car for training purposes. Clark was a Gillette police officer from January to March, when he was terminated. The marijuana theft occurred in February. Clark gave several ounces of marijuana to the woman, whom he met while working as a jailer at the county jail. He now faces charges of delivery of marijuana and conspiracy to deliver marijuana. He is out on bond and awaits an arraignment date.

In Boston, a former Swampscott police officer pleaded guilty June 12 to federal charges he sold oxycodone and cocaine. Thomas Wrenn, 38, was arrested in March after buying 50 pills from a police informant, but his colleagues had been watching him since they were tipped off to his drug use last year. Federal prosecutors alleged he had distributed illegal pain relievers on about 20 occasions in the past five years, and distributed cocaine on at least three occasions in 2006. Wrenn resigned from the force after his arrest.

In Muncie, Indiana, the Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force came under scrutiny at a circuit court hearing last Friday. Delaware Circuit Court 2 Judge Richard Dailey conducted the hearing into the status of more than 50 asset forfeiture cases filed by the task force, and the court heard testimony that seized cash and goods were routinely funneled into task force bank accounts in violation of state law. Judge Dailey fended off repeated efforts by Delaware County Prosecutor Mark McKinney to thwart the probe. McKinney unsuccessfully argued that Dailey had no right to review confidential agreements that also included the names of cooperating witnesses or other information key to criminal investigations. McKinney is the target of professional misconduct complaint filed by Muncie Mayor Sharon McShurley charging he misled local courts about the cases, some of which have been pending for years.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Busy, busy. Border guards going down, prison guards going down, more cops in trouble, and more investigations of a perjury-condoning prosecutor in Detroit. Let's get to it:

In San Diego, a US Customs and Border Protection officer was indicted by a federal grand jury June 3 for allegedly taking $200,000 in bribes to let illegal immigrants and marijuana into the country. Luis Francisco Alarid, 31, is charged with conspiracy to smuggle more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants and bribery. In March, Alarid permitted a car driven by his uncle with 18 illegal immigrants and 170 pounds of marijuana to enter the United States, according to authorities. On May 3, Alarid allowed a caravan of four vehicles carrying illegal immigrants into the country. He faces up to 90 years in prison if convicted.

In McAllen, Texas, a US Border Patrol agent was arrested Monday and accused of smuggling 11 bricks of cocaine into the country. Agent Reynaldo Zuniga, 34, faces charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Zuniga allegedly picked up a Mexican drug courier at the border and drove him to meet another man in Hidalgo. Those two are also under arrest. One of them said Zuniga had helped smuggle drugs or illegal immigrants at least six times.

In Texarkana, Arkansas, a Miller County prison guard was arrested May 30 after trying to smuggle syringes into the jail inside tacos and marijuana hidden inside a container of chili. Guard Jordan Michael Waller, 25, went down after a supervisor became suspicious and searched the food. A search of Waller himself also turned up tobacco, methamphetamine, and more drug paraphernalia. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, and furnishing prohibited items inside a correctional facility. He goes to court June 17.

In Andalusia, Kentucky, an Andalusia police officer was arrested June 4 on drug distribution charges. Officer Joshua Chad Wood was arrested at a local motel by members of the Covington County Drug Task Force as he tried to illegally sell legally obtained prescription pills to undercover agents. He is charged with drug distribution, complicity for not reporting the presence of marijuana, and violation of state prostitution statutes. He has been suspended without pay pending a termination hearing.

In Farmington, Missouri, a former state prison guard was sentenced last Friday to seven years in prison on drugs and weapons charges. Seth Barton, who had worked at the Bonne Terre state prison, went down after prison employees searched his vehicle on prison property in February 2006. They found bags of marijuana, a loaded handgun, ammunition, a hunting knife, a jar of marijuana seeds, drug paraphernalia and more than $1,500 in cash. He pleaded no contest in April to charges of felony drug possession with intent to distribute and delivery of a weapon at a prison.

In Indianapolis, a former Indianapolis police officer was sentenced June 4 to three years probation for providing information to drug suspects to help them avoid arrest. Former Officer Noble Duke, 39, pleaded guilty in April to unlawfully disclosing the contents of federally authorized wiretaps with the intent to obstruct or impede a criminal investigation. Duke was monitoring phone conversations in a wiretap case and was aware of another case being monitored in the same room at the Indianapolis FBI office. Duke relayed information about phones being tapped, pending indictments, and the date raids were scheduled. He also has to do four months community confinement and six months of house arrest.

In Detroit, the Michigan Attorney General's Office is taking over the investigation of Wayne County's lead drug prosecutor, who is accused knowingly using perjured testimony in a 2005 cocaine case. Assistant Prosecutor Karen Plants was suspended in April after the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission charged her with misconduct for allowing an informant and two Inkster police officers to lie under oath during a cocaine conspiracy trial. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy asked that another agency investigate Plants, and the Attorney General's Office stepped in after prosecutors in four nearby counties declined to get involved.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Connecticut prison guard gets busted, a pair of JFK airport Customs inspectors do too, an Arizona Border Patrol agent cops a plea, and a Connecticut narc heads to prison. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/seizedcash.jpg
too much drug cash can corrupt cops
In Hartford, Connecticut, a prison guard was arrested last week in a state police sting operation after agreeing to smuggle heroin and a cell phone into a Suffield prison for an inmate. Corrections officer Connie Atkins, 43, met with an undercover police officer posing as a drug connection in Hartford on May 21 and took possession of a cell phone and what she thought was 28 grams of heroin. She was then arrested. Atkins faces charges of criminal attempt to possess narcotics, criminal attempt to convey narcotics into a correctional institution and criminal attempt to convey a wireless communication device into a correctional institution. She is out on bail, with a Superior Court hearing set for June 20.

In New York City, two Customs and Border Protection officers were arrested Wednesday, accused of taking bribes in a drug probe that snagged five other people as well. The so far unnamed CBP officers allegedly took bribes to look the other way as the other arrestees smuggled hashish and other drugs and contraband through Kennedy International Airport. The others arrested included two Customs brokers, an operations manager of a cargo cooperative, and two importers of counterfeit goods and controlled substances. They were due in court this week.

In Tucson, a Border Patrol agent pleaded guilty May 20 to smuggling more than 3,000 pounds of marijuana into the country in his government vehicle. Agent Juan Luis Sanchez pleaded guilty to drug smuggling, bribery, and workmen's compensation fraud. He admitted transporting at least six loads of marijuana ranging from 376 pounds to 921 pounds in 2002 and 2003. He also admitted receiving $45,000 in bribes. Sanchez will be sentenced August 13, when he faces up to life in prison, but a plea deal with prosecutors calls for a sentence of between 10 and 15 years.

In New Haven, Connecticut, a former New Haven detective was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in federal prison after admitting he planted drug evidence and stole money from a crime scene. Former narcotics detective Justen Kasperzyk pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to violate civil rights and theft of government property. He will report to prison June 24, where he can hang out with his old boss, former narcotics division head Lt. William White, who is doing 38 months for corruption.

If the Drug War Reduces Violence, Please Explain What's Happening in Mexico

The debate should be over now. All you have to do is look south to learn that the drug war is worse than a failure; it causes massive violence, corruption, and death. From The New York Times:
"When the commander, Commissioner Édgar Millán Gómez, the acting chief of the federal police, died with eight bullets in his chest on May 8, it sent chills through a force that had increasingly found itself a target."

"Top security officials who were once thought untouchable have been gunned down in Mexico City, four in the last month alone."

"Drug dealers killed another seven federal agents this year in retaliation for drug busts in border towns."

"Drug traffickers have killed at least 170 local police officers as well, among them at least a score of municipal police commanders, since Mr. Calderón took office."

"The violence between drug cartels that Mr. Calderón has sought to end has only worsened over the past year and a half. The death toll has jumped 47 percent to 1,378 this year, prosecutors say. All told, 4,125 people have been killed in drug violence since Mr. Calderón took office."

"Several terrified local police chiefs have resigned, the most recent being Guillermo Prieto, the chief in Ciudad Juárez, who stepped down last week after his second in command was killed a few days earlier."
So what does Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who instigated the massive increase in drug war violence, have to say about all this?
The president has vowed to stay the course, portraying the violence among gangs and attacks on the police as a sign of success rather than failure.
Wow. Well, I guess you've got it all figured then, Mr. President. That's good to hear, because for a second there, it sounded like everything was going to hell.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

On opposite sides of the country, crooked cops are headed for long prison sentences, and another Atlanta narc is going to the big house. Meanwhile, a Customs and Border Protection agent in San Diego and a jail guard in the Florida panhandle get busted. Let's get to it:

In Los Angeles, a former LAPD officer was sentenced to 13 years in prison May 12 for leading a ring of corrupt cops who robbed homes while carrying out fake drug raids. Ruben Palomares, 38, admitted to leading more than 40 home invasion robberies disguised as police raids in working-class Los Angeles neighborhoods between 1999 and 2001. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deal drugs, violating the civil rights of his victims, and using a firearm during the commission of a felony. The former Ramparts Division cop is already serving six years for a San Diego conviction for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Palomares is one of five former police officers to be convicted in the scheme. Another Palomares accomplice and former LAPD officer was sentenced Monday to 102 years in prison. William Ferguson got hammered so hard because he turned down a plea deal that involved testifying against his brother John, who was also convicted in the ring and is currently doing eight years.

[Ed: Ferguson's century-long sentence seems troubling for multiple reasons. Armed robbery is serious business, as are betraying the public trust and contributing to the public's distrust of police. But it's not like he killed someone. Not being willing to testify against another person, let one's your brother, shouldn't be reason for increasing a sentence by 89 years and a factor of eight. I wonder how much of the sentence was the drug conspiracy charges as opposed to the robberies. -DB]

In Atlanta, another Atlanta narc has been sentenced to prison in the killing of Kathryn Johnston. Atlanta Police Officer Arthur Tesler was sentenced Tuesday to four years and nine months for lying to investigators about the November 2006 drug raid that resulted in the death of the 92-year-old woman. The three officers involved in the case lied to a judge to obtain a search warrant, tried to persuade another informant to lie for them, and planted marijuana in Johnston's home after the fact. The other two have already pleaded guilty and are serving their sentences. Tesler was the only one of the three to go to trial.

In Boston, a former Boston police officer was sentenced to 26 years in prison May 16 for his leadership role in a scheme that enlisted two other Boston police officers to escort trucks filled with cocaine headed for the city. Roberto Pulido pleaded guilty in November in the middle of his trial after jurors heard tapes of more than two dozen conversations where a swaggering, swearing Pulido was recorded plotting the protection racket in a sting organized by the FBI. Pulido and fellow officers Carlos Pizarro and Nelson Carrasquillo were arrested in July 2006 after guiding a truck filled with 100 kilograms of cocaine from Western Massachusetts into the city. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and 1 kilogram of heroin and two counts of attempting to aid and abet the distribution of the cocaine. He pleaded no contest to a fourth charge of carrying a gun in a drug-trafficking crime. Pulido blamed his crimes on his steroids habit.

In San Diego, a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer was arrested last Friday on charges he conspired to smuggle drugs and illegal immigrants across the border. CBP Officer Luis Francisco Alarid, 31, had worked at the Otay Mesa border crossing, across the frontier from Tijuana, Mexico. Federal investigators watched Alarid repeatedly fail to properly check vehicles coming through his inspection lane. Investigators found dozens of illegal immigrants and hundreds of pounds of marijuana that Alarid is suspected of allowing to be smuggled into the country.

In Panama City, Florida, a Washington County corrections officer was arrested May 10 while on duty for allegedly selling marijuana to inmates. Guard Ivan Duke Peters, 34, is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver, unlawful compensation, and smuggling contraband into a detention facility. Investigators had received information that Peters was smuggling in contraband in return for cash from prisoners.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The evidence goes missing in Galveston, a pill-hungry cop goes down in Oklahoma, a pill-peddling cop gets popped in New Jersey, and another pill-peddling cop goes to prison in Indiana. Let's get to it:

In Galveston, Texas, large amounts of cash and drugs have gone missing from the Galveston Police Department evidence room, prompting the dismissal of 16 cases and a Texas Rangers audit of more than 2,000 other cases. Some $18,000 in cash, as well as undisclosed amounts of cocaine, Ecstasy, and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab) disappeared from the evidence room last month. One civilian employee has been fired, but no one has yet been charged with a crime. Charges could be filed once the state investigation is complete, city officials said.

In Trenton, New Jersey, a Trenton police officer was arrested May 7 on charges of distribution of prescription drugs and official misconduct. Officer Nicholas Fratticioli, 24, is accused of selling more than 100 doses of muscle relaxants. Fratticioli graduated from the Trenton Police Academy in August, but has now been suspended without pay. He is currently out on $25,000 bail awaiting trial.

In Durant, Oklahoma, a Durant police lieutenant was arrested May 8 after breaking into a pharmacy in an alleged attempt to steal prescription drugs. Lt. Johnny Rutherford has admitted he was the person shown in a surveillance video breaking into the pharmacy, according to an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation affidavit in the case. Rutherford, who was due to retire this year after 20 years on the job, was on personal leave when he was arrested. He is now on administrative leave.

In Clarksville, Indiana, a former Clarksville police officer was sentenced May 8 to 10 years in prison for dealing drugs. Former office Franklin Mikel had pleaded guilty to selling morphine tablets to a police informant three times in March and April 2007 at a roller rink he owned in Clarksville. The eight-year veteran officer was running for a town judge position at the time of his arrest. He was suspended from the force and later left the department.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Belated justice comes for two crooked cops, one in Dallas and one in Long Beach. Let's get to it:

In Los Angeles, a former Long Beach police officer was sentenced Monday to eight years and one month in federal prison for participating in a series of home invasion robberies staged to look like legitimate drug raids. Joseph Ferguson, 33, was convicted of three counts in January, including possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Ferguson was part of a ring of Los Angeles and Long Beach police officers who committed more than 30 home invasion robberies, using stolen LAPD vehicles to rob homes where they thought drugs or cash were stored. Of the 19 members of the ring, 15 have pleaded guilty, two are fugitives, and two, Ferguson and his brother, another Long Beach cop, were found guilty at trial.

In Dallas, the former Dallas narcotics detective at the center of the "sheet-rock" scandal has begun serving a five-year prison sentence. Former Dallas police officer Mark Delapaz was found guilty of lying to a judge to obtain a search warrant in the scandal, which saw dozens of innocent immigrants sent to prison after being arrested by Delapaz and his partners and charged with cocaine possession. But the "cocaine" turned out to be gypsum, similar to the stuff sheet rock is made of. Delapaz was sentenced for tampering with evidence and aggravated perjury. The scandal has cost the city $4 million in payouts to victims and led to changes in departmental policy. Another officer involved, Jeffrey Harwood, was sentenced to two years probation after a jury found him guilty of lying on a police report, and cases are still pending for two other officers, Eddie Herrera and David Larsen.

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