Ah, the drug war -- what a cornucopia of corruption it generates. Week in, week out, law enforcement officers fall prey to temptation. This week is no different. Let's get to it:
In New York City, a former NYPD officer was sentenced to 15 years in prison for plotting to rob a drug dealer of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Former officer Porfirio Mejia, 31, was part of a six-man group who planned to rob a man they thought was a Colombian dealer in the Bronx of 10 kilograms of heroin and $450,000 in cash. At the time of the planned robbery, Mejia was in uniform. Mejia and the others were arrested by members of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force. He was sentenced January 31.
In Roanoke, Virginia, the Henry County Sheriff's Department implosion into corruption-related scandal continues to work its way through the courts. In the latest news, a former department dog handler and two civilians charged in the case pleaded guilty to taking part in a scheme involving the sheriff and 11 deputies to re-sell drugs seized from dealers. That makes 13 out of 20 defendants who have now copped pleas in a case where deputies are charged with peddling tens of thousands of dollars worth of seized drugs, along with stolen guns and other evidence. Department dog handler Walter Hairston pleaded guilty February 2 to one count of racketeering conspiracy. He was accused of passing along drugs he used for drug dog training to deputies who would then resell them. Former Sheriff H. Franklin Cassell, who is charged with covering up his deputies' misdeeds, is seeking to have his trial moved outside the Roanoke area.
In Youngstown, Ohio, a former Mahoning County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty last Friday to three counts of drug trafficking and three counts of drug possession. Michael "Beef" Terlecky, 51, was caught peddling Oxycontin tablets along US Highway 224 by undercover agents, and the cops found more Oxycontin and Valium at his home. Terlecky is in ill health and had been taking post-surgery pain medications, which prosecutors said could have affected his judgment. Prosecutors will recommend a two-year prison stretch at his March 29 sentencing. His defense attorney, who argued that Terlecky sold some of the drugs to pay his medical expenses, is urging probation.
In Saranac Lake, New York, a state prison guard pleaded guilty last Friday to trying to smuggle heroin into the prison where he worked. Michael Bradish, 34, pleaded guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband and attempted criminal possession of controlled substance, plus misdemeanor official misconduct. Bradish, who worked at Bare Hill Correctional Facility in Malone, is being held without bail at Franklin County Jail. He could receive up to four years in state prison when he's sentenced in March. He was caught on videotape in September being handed 37 bundles of heroin as part of an investigation into prison contraband by the state police, the state Department of Corrections, the Inspector General, and the Franklin County District Attorney's office. Police stopped Bradish on his way to work the next day and found the drugs. Two other prison guards, Lt. Timothy Flint, 40, and Daniel Oakes, 32, face criminal charges in the probe. An unknown number of other guards have quit or been fired.
In Council Bluffs, Iowa, a prosecutor has been fired after evidence from a drug case was "mishandled." Assistant Pottawattamie County Attorney Jeff TeKippe was put on paid leave last week, but got the ax this week as an investigation by the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation gets underway. They were called in by Council Bluffs police and County Attorney Matt Wilber after "they discovered evidence from a narcotics case appeared to have been mishandled," a terse DCI statement said. TeKippe was a 10-year veteran of the prosecutors office who handled primarily drug cases.
In Greenville, South Carolina, a former Anderson police officer has been charged with misconduct in office after making off with the evidence in drug cases. Former officer Clint Fuller, 31, was arrested Saturday for failing to log in evidence from twelve 2006 arrests he made where he seized "a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana." Some of Fuller's cases have been dismissed because of lack of evidence, others because he failed to show up for court, the department said. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.