There's an embarrassment of riches for the corrupt cops file this week. We've got pot-dealing sheriffs, we've got corner-cutting DEA agents, we've got sticky-fingered cops, and of course, we have dope-peddling prison guards. And that Philadelphia narc squad scandal just keeps reverberating. Let's get to it:
In Shawneetown, Illinois, DEA agents Monday arrested the Gallatin County Sheriff on federal marijuana distribution charges. Sheriff Randy Martin provided marijuana to a confidential informant, typically in one-pound lots, between November 2008 and this month, according to DEA affidavit in the case. The affidavit also says the informant wore a wire and several of the transactions were videotaped. Sheriff Martin would meet the informant at rural locations, "front" the weed to the informant, and take cash payment for the previous shipment. He is charged with three federal counts of marijuana distribution and two counts of carrying a firearm -- his service revolver -- during the commission of a drug crime.
In Cleveland, Ohio, a DEA agent was indicted May 12 for his role in a 2005 drug operation that put more than two dozen residents behind bars. DEA Agent Lee Lucas, 41, faces seven counts of obstruction of justice, seven counts of perjury, three counts of violating individuals' civil rights, and one count of making false statements in an official report. In the 2005 operation, Lucas' informant, Jerrell Bray, intentionally framed 17 people by doing controlled drug buys but intentionally misidentifying the drug sellers, providing people with his drugs and then retrieving the stash so they looked like drug sellers, and staged scripted recorded conversations to make individuals appear to be drug sellers. Lucas allegedly knew his snitch was rogue, but covered it up, included false and misleading information in reports, and concealed potentially exculpatory evidence. Bray got 15 years. Let's see what his DEA handler gets.
In New York City, an NYPD officer was arrested May 13 and charged with trying to steal $900,000 left in a Manhattan apartment by a drug dealer who had been deported. Officer Shawn Jenkins, 41, plotted with a confidential informant to go to the apartment, serve an official looking document on the new tenant, immobilize him with a stun gun, and retrieve the money from its hiding place under the floor. He is now charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted robbery. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison on each charge.
In Temple Terrace, Florida, a Temple Terrace Police officer was arrested last Friday on charges he stole drugs recovered in a recent case. Officer Zachariah Brown, 33, was arrested after investigators found missing hydrocodone and Xanax pills in his police cruiser. He was booked and released on bail and has been placed on administrative leave with pay until the internal investigation is concluded. He is charged with drug possession, petty theft, and tampering with evidence.
In Philadephia, prosecutors dismissed the first of what could be dozens of drug cases last Friday as fall-out from the ongoing corruption scandal in the Philadelphia police narcotics squad continues to spread. The scandal began with Officer Jeffrey Cujdik, who is alleged to have falsified affidavits in order to get judges to sign drug search warrants. Now, because of the cloud over Cujdik, prosecutors are seeking delays in his pending cases. The case dropped Friday was not one where Cujdik is alleged to have lied on affidavits, but prosecutors dropped it because they had run out of time to stall any longer and Cujdik's credibility in any case is now in doubt. Cujdik, his brother, Richard Cujdik, and another Philly narc, Robert McConnell have all been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, which has since broadened to include allegations that Philly narcs routinely raided convenience stores, turned off surveillance equipment, and stole cash and goods from the stores before arresting their owners for selling small plastic bags. At least 52 more cases could be dismissed, according to Philadelphia public defenders.
In Summerville, South Carolina, a state prison guard was charged May 14 with selling cocaine to undercover Dorchester County deputies. Guard John Lambert, 28, is charged with distribution of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He is now on administrative leave from his post at the Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville.
In Newark, New Jersey, a former Passaic County sheriff's officer was sentenced Monday to seven years and one month in federal prison for stealing $250,000 worth of cocaine from the department evidence room and selling it to drug dealers. Former officer Alan Souto, an 18-year veteran of the force, was a member of the Sheriff's Evidence Unit, and used his access card to gradually begin stealing drugs until he had stolen 95 pounds of cocaine and 1.5 pounds of heroin. He was arrested in March 2008 after authorities noticed a GPS device missing and cooperated with investigators, leading to two other men also being charged in the case. Maybe that's why he got seven years instead of the life sentence he could have received.
In Toledo, Ohio, a former Sylvania Police officer was sentenced May 14 to three years in prison for stealing drug money from the department property room. Former officer Carl Beckman, a 36-year-veteran of the department, nickel-and-dimed more than $30,000 over a 13-year period. He had pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice.
In Hammond, Indiana, a former St. Joseph County Police officer was sentenced May 13 to more than six years in prison for burglarizing a mobile home and stealing plasma TVs and computer monitors from it -- oh, and cocaine, too, which he tried to sell. Former officer Andrew Taghon was one of three local police officers indicted by the feds in the case dating back to 2004. The other two await sentencing.