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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Even corrupt cops take the Labor Day weekend off. We've only got two this week, and they're both from before the holiday, but they're doozies. Let's get to it:

In Normangee, Texas, the Normangee police chief was arrested last Wednesday on charges he was feeding information to an alleged methamphetamine trafficker. Chief Joseph Ray Navarro, 40, was arrested by state and federal law enforcement agents after running a background check on a name for a local meth dealer. The dealer has been arrested on meth distribution charges. It is unclear if the dealer then set up Navarro. He is charged with one count of intentionally exceeding authorized access to a protected computer and is looking at up to five years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

In Jonesboro, Georgia, a Clayton County police officer was arrested last Wednesday on charges he plotted with a drug dealer to rip off another drug dealer and sell the stolen cocaine. Officer Dwayne Penn, a nine-year veteran, got caught red-handed in an FBI sting after an informant recorded meetings between him and the drug dealer with whom he plotted. They hatched a scheme to disrupt a six-kilo cocaine transfer by staging an arrest and seizing the drugs and actually went through with it, but unbeknownst to them, the FBI and DEA were watching the whole thing. He was arrested shortly thereafter and is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, unlawfully concealing a controlled substance, and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime. He is now on unpaid leave and in federal custody pending a bail hearing this week.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Two Texas cops lose their jobs, a California jail guard gets busted at the playground, a Tennessee sheriff's lieutenant cops to slinging pain pills, and an Arizona Customs officer is headed for the pen. Let's get to it:

In Blue Mound, Texas, one Blue Mound police officer was fired and another resigned Monday after they were accused of tipping off the mayor that his name had been mentioned in a drug investigation. The mayor has denied any drug involvement, but his name came up during an investigation into drug sales at a local business by the Tarrant County Drug Task Force. Task force members tried unsuccessfully four times to purchase drugs at the business. Officer Robin Wall told Officer Fred Jepsen a task force member had asked him if he had ever seen the mayor going into the business, and Jepsen then informed the mayor, who promptly called the deputy chief of police to tell him one of his officers was divulging information about an investigation. Jepesen resigned his position and Wall was fired.

In Merced, California, a Merced County jail guard was arrested last Friday not for smuggling drugs into the jail, but for selling drugs to a minor. Officer Micha Justin Imler, 34, is charged with selling to a minor on or near a school's grounds. Three other suspects were arrested on similar charges at the same time. Imler is on paid administrative leave pending a full investigation.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, a former Cocke County sheriff's lieutenant pleaded guilty last Tuesday to peddling pain pills. Richard Caldwell, a former lieutenant and shift supervisor with the Sheriff's Office, pleaded guilty to delivery of the Schedule III controlled substance hydrocodone. Caldwell went down after an FBI investigation two years ago showed he was involved in illicit prescription drug distribution. Under his plea agreement, he will be sentenced to two years in prison in October.

In Tucson, Arizona, a former Customs and Border Protection officer was sentenced Monday to 12 years in federal prison for allowing loads of marijuana to enter the US. Luis Carlos Vasquez let the loads pass through the lane he monitored at the Douglas, Arizona, port of entry. Prosecutors had sought 19 years; the defense argued for the mandatory minimum five years.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More sticky-fingered cops, including one on a DEA task force, a cop tries to cover up a fatal drug deal at his home, another cop goes away over dope and hookers, and another jail guard goes down. Let's get to it:

In Chicago, a Cook County jail guard was arrested last Tuesday as she tried to enter the jail with a backpack containing hundreds of prescription pills. Candice Grube, 45, is charged with official misconduct and bringing contraband into a penal institution.

In Ludlow, Massachusetts, a Ludlow police officer was arrested last Thursday on charges he stole drugs from the department's evidence locker. Lt. Thomas Foye, 49, went down after department internal investigators called in the Hampden County DA's office which in turn called in the state attorney general's office. He was caught red-handed last Thursday morning after entering the evidence locker without authorization and exiting with what appeared to be cocaine. The former DARE officer is charged with theft of drugs from a depository and possession of a class B substance (cocaine). He's out on bail, but must remain drug free, and has been ordered to turn in all firearms.

In Woburn, Massachusetts, a Medford police officer was charged last Thursday with trying to cover up a drug deal that led to a slaying at his home. Officer Miguel Lopez, 53, went down after a 28-year-old man living at his home arranged to sell drugs to two men. The men instead robbed and killed him and another man who was visiting the home. Lopez is accused of lying to investigators and removing evidence from the home. He is charged with two counts of witness intimidation.

In Bothell, Washington, a former King County sheriff's deputy was arrested Monday on charges he stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of drugs and other goods while working undercover for the DEA as part of a joint drug task force. Mitchell Wright, 33, went down after a Bothell police officer found a woman shooting up heroin in a van in a McDonald's parking lot in May. The van was registered to Wright, and the woman said she was an informant for him and lived with him. Wright was placed on administrative leave in July, and when his patrol was cleaned out, deputies found three baggies marked with DEA case numbers that contained traces of heroin. Investigators later determined that somewhere between $36,000 and $52,000 worth of drugs seized by Wright were never placed into evidence, including hundreds of prescription pain pills. He is charged with possession of stolen property, possession of narcotics, theft, and tampering with evidence.

In Pittsburgh, a former Pittsburgh police officer was sentenced last Wednesday to 18 to 36 months in federal prison for his role in a prostitution ring. Michael Johns, 45, beat the prostitution counts, but was convicted of providing drugs to the hookers. He was also convicted of insurance fraud, obstruction, false statements, official oppression, and conspiracy. In addition to providing drugs to the women, he also paid for rental cars for them and allowed them to use his home as a place of business.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

There's trouble down South, and more out-of-control NYPD narcs cost the taxpayers. Let's get to it:

In New York City, NYPD narcs run amok in Queens have cost the city $365,000 so far in payments to settle lawsuits filed by people beaten and falsely arrested by Queens narcotics officers. Thirteen civil rights suits have been filed against nine detectives and a sergeant alleging the abuses, as well as the theft of cash during raids. The city appears to be quietly settling the claims rather than go to court where the allegations could be aired publicly. City lawyers said the settlements were "straightforward business decisions that are not in any way an indication of guilt." Some members of the squad have been repeatedly accused of picking suspects at random, ignoring due process rights and the NYPD's requirement that cops must have "reasonable suspicion" to question a citizen. The pattern of abuses in Queens North Narcotics echoes a similar pattern of claims against Brooklyn North Narcotics. Click on the link above to read some of the horror stories.

In Union City, Tennessee, a former Union City drug court probation officer was arrested Tuesday on charges she stole money collected from drug court participants. Martha Sue Moore is charged with two counts of theft over $60,000 and one count of money laundering. Moore went down after the 27th Judicial District Attorney General office requested the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation look into discrepancies in the reported amounts of money that Moore had collected from probationers. The investigation found that Moore had embezzled more than $63,000 from the probationers. She is now in the Obion County Jail on $150,000 bond.

In Tyler, Texas, a former Smith County sheriff's deputy was arraigned last Tuesday on a variety of charges after being caught with drugs in his patrol car last month. Kimbrick Jones, 38, faces five counts: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of more than 50 grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and less than 28 grams of cocaine base, possession with intent to distribute less than 50 grams of methamphetamine, use and carry of a firearm related to a drug trafficking crime (2 counts) and possession with intent to distribute less than 28 grams of crack cocaine. He is being held without bond at the neighboring Gregg County Jail pending an October hearing.

In Ashland, Kentucky, a former Ashland police officer was sentenced Monday to six years in federal prison in a prescription drug and firearms case. Melvin Schoch, Jr., 30, admitted that he and two other men had conducted a home invasion robbery in the guise of a drug raid in order to score cash and oxycodone tablets for their own benefit. Schoch provided the other men with police tactical equipment and used his own service weapon in the robbery, which occurred because Schoch and the others thought they would find a large amount of pain pills and cash. They didn't. He had pleaded guilty to attempting to possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone and using a firearm during a drug offense, which carries a mandatory minimum five-year sentence.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A pair of Indiana prison guards get in trouble over weed in separate incidents, a Florida deputy is apparently having way too much fun, and an Alabama cop gets nailed in a cocaine sting. Let's get to it:

In Chesterton, Indiana, an Indiana state prison guard was arrested last Tuesday after being caught reporting to work with nearly three-quarters of a pound of marijuana. Marcus Crenshaw, 27, went down after being stopped and searched as he reported for work. He is charged with one count of marijuana trafficking and is now lodged at the LaPorte County Jail. He has also been suspended without pay.

In South Bend, Indiana, an Indiana state prison guard was arraigned last Thursday on charges he had a marijuana grow-op in his home. The charges against Kenneth Bell, 26, came after police raided his home and found a dozen pot plants in the basement, along with other "drug-related materials." He is facing charges of marijuana possession and distribution. There is no indication it is connected with his job.

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a Broward County sheriff's deputy was suspended without pay last Friday for allegedly having sex while on duty, dating escorts, and allowing the use of drugs in his presence. Deputy Michael Hennessey came under the spotlight in February, when an ex-girlfriend ratted him out. Since then, he has been under surveillance, and investigators also used undercover officers and confidential informants to try to nail him. The investigation revealed that he was in constant contact with his live-in girlfriend, "a known escort and drug user and dealer." A Friday search warrant said investigators were looking into the possibility he had committed two felony crimes, possibly conspiracy to deliver cocaine and illegal use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony.

In Pritchard, Alabama, a Prichard police officer was arrested Saturday after trying to buy five kilograms of cocaine in what turned out to be a sting operation. Officer Edmund Burke is now charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of marijuana. He has two previous arrests, one for interfering with custody in 2000 and one for possession of a controlled substance in 2006.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Deputies packing dope, jail guards smuggling dope, cops doing a little money laundering, and cops getting information for their dope dealer buddies. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

In Montgomery, Alabama, a Wilcox County deputy sheriff pleaded not guilty last Tuesday to charges he transported packages of what he thought was cocaine from Montgomery to Camden. Deputy Greg Barge, 45, was arrested in late June and has been held in custody ever since. He is accused of taking $800 in one incident and $1,200 in another to deliver the "drugs" while in uniform and carrying his police-issue weapon. He is charged with drug possession with intent to distribute and carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

In West Chester, Pennsylvania, a Chester County Prison guard was arrested last Thursday on charges he routinely smuggled drugs and other contraband into the jail. Erik Messner, 24, went down after a confidential informant snitched him out. According to authorities, inmates would arrange with family members to meet Messner, then give him drugs, tobacco, and cash to smuggle into the jail. Messner would keep a portion of the cash and drugs and deliver the rest to inmates. He is charged with various conspiracy and drug offenses and, at last report, was residing at his former workplace.

In Reynolds, Georgia, a Reynolds police officer was arrested last Friday on charges he accessed confidential law enforcement information and passed it on to a drug dealer. Officer Terrell Gibson went down in a joint investigation by the DEA, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the sheriff's office. He was released on bond late Friday evening, but is now former Officer Gibson, having been fired that same day.

In Washington, DC, a former Metro DC police officer pleaded guilty last Thursday to charges he aided and abetted a cocaine dealer's efforts to launder drug money. Jared Weinberg, 28, rented an apartment from the cocaine dealer which the dealer sometimes used to make coke deals. Weinberg also helped count drug money and admitted to laundering some $14,900. He pleaded guilty to money laundering and is looking at 10 to 16 months in federal prison when he is sentenced in December.

In Cincinnati, a former Hamilton County evidence room supervisor pleaded guilty Monday to stealing drugs and jewelry from the evidence room and was sentenced to six years in prison. Michael Esposito, 71, took methadone, oxycodone, phentermine, and marijuana, and had his wife and stepson sell them and share the profits. His wife is going away for four years. Esposito pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated trafficking, one count of trafficking in drugs, one count of drug theft, and one count of theft. The thefts all involved cases that had already been resolved.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Four of the seven law enforcement personnel making our hall of shame this week were women. You've come a long way, ladies! Let's get to it:

In Washington, DC, a Prince Georges County (Maryland) police officer was arrested last Monday as part of a drug-dealing investigation in which more than a dozen people were also busted. Vanessa Edwards-Hammond is accused of tipping off a suspect that he was being wiretapped. The investigation by local and federal authorities targeted a drug-dealing network that authorities say sold heroin, cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills throughout the region. It is unclear what the exact charges are.

In Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a Wauwatosa police detective was arrested last Tuesday after being caught red-handed pilfering drugs from the evidence room. Detective Robin Schumacher was caught on surveillance cameras entering the evidence room and leaving with bags of drugs, then sorting through them at her desk. She went down after a review of computer records showed that the evidence room door was opened with a standard key within minutes of Shumacher entering the building on six different in a one-month period ending earlier this month. Investigators then set up the cameras designed to catch her in the act. They did. Among the drugs she pocketed on the day she was busted were oxycodone, diazepam, Cymbalta, hydrocodone, and lorazepam.

In Milwaukee, a Chicago Aviation Police officer was arrested last Wednesday on charges she worked as a mule for a Chicago "drug kingpin." Angela Brown, 47, is accused of driving loads of heroin from Chicago to Milwaukee for the past six months. She went down after narcotics agents tracked her with a GPS device placed on her vehicle. She is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

In Columbus, Ohio, a Columbus police detective was arrested last Thursday on charges he was providing protection to a drug dealer. Detective Stevie Billups, 48, allegedly met a drug dealer at a local casino where he gambled heavily and provided paid protection for the man when he had to pick up payments for drug transactions and when he had to deliver loads of heroin. Billups went down after federal agents working a narcotics case saw him giving casino chips to a drug dealer, and when they arrested that dealer, he alerted them to Billups' involvement. Billups had been to the casino more than a hundred times since it opened in October and had bought at least $100,000 worth of chips there. But he lost more at gambling than he won and was suffering financial distress. He is charged with attempted distribution of heroin and possession of weapon during a drug trafficking offense.

In Salt Lake City, a former West Valley City police officer was arrested last Thursday on charges he stole morphine pills from a deceased cancer patient. Ryan Humphrey is accused of pocketing 22 pills when he responded to the death of the patient. He went down when a backup officer reported his actions to a supervisor and resigned shortly thereafter. He is charged with theft and felony possession of morphine.

In Littleton, Colorado, a Littleton police officers was arrested last Friday after buying 37 ecstasy tablets and 6.3 grams of powder ecstasy in an undercover drug buy at his home. Jeffrey Allan Johnston, 46, went down after the FBI recorded phone calls between him and a confidential informant and raided his home after the deal went down. During the search of his home, investigators also found suspected cocaine, steroids, and hundreds of prescription pain pills.

In Toledo, Ohio, a Lucas County Jail guard was arrested Saturday on charges she was smuggling drugs into the jail. Michelle Vining, 31, went down after a three-week investigation and was caught carrying marijuana and prescription pills as she headed to work. She faces three unspecified felony charges and is now looking for a new job.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Two Virginia top cops copped to drug corruption offenses this past week, and that's just for starters. There is more as well. Let's get to it:

In Halifax, Virginia, the former Halifax County sheriff pleaded guilty last Friday to ripping off drug task funds and asset forfeiture funds for his own personal use. Former Sheriff Stanley Noblin copped to five counts of embezzlement in connection with the thefts. According to prosecutors -- and uncontested by Noblin -- Noblin ripped off at least $48,500 from the department's asset forfeiture fund and $32,500 from the drug task force fund. He cited financial hardships. He will be sentenced in October.

In Milwaukee, a Milwaukee police officer pleaded guilty last Friday to conducting illegal strip searches of drug suspects. Officer Jack Knight, 32, also agreed to resign from the department. He is the second officer convicted in the case. Michael Vagnini was sentenced to 26 months in prison last month, and two other officers face similar charges and are scheduled for trials. Vagnini appears to have been the active perpetrator of the strip searches, which included rectal probes, but the other three officers are being charged because their presence without objection asserted to victims that they were not free to leave and had to consent to the searches. Some of the victims have now filed a civil rights lawsuit against the department and individual officers.

In Abingdon, Virginia, the former Marion police chief pleaded guilty Tuesday to dealing meth, cocaine, and pain pills. Michael Dean Roberts, 54, copped to one counts of conspiring to distribute controlled substances. He conceded selling at least 7,331 hydrocodone pills, 365 grams of methamphetamine, and small amounts of cocaine and oxycodone from 2006 through June. A confidential informant bought hydrocodone pills from the police chief on three separate occasions in May and June. Some of the drugs came from the department's evidence room. He's looking at up to 20 years in federal prison when he's sentenced in October.

In San Diego, a former Calexico-area Customs officer was sentenced last Tuesday to 12 years in federal prison for taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to allow drugs to be smuggled into the country. Oscar Osbaldo Ortiz-Martinez had been convicted of bribery and conspiracy to import controlled substances in September 2012 after he went down in a sting. Undercover agents and cooperating witnesses posed as drug traffickers seeking free entrée through Customs inspection lanes and paid Ortiz-Martinez $22,000 to clear the way. He also agreed to allow kilograms of cocaine through his lane in exchange for another $30,000 and 15 kilograms of meth, but was then busted.

In New York City, a former NYPD officer was sentenced last Friday to six months in prison for lying about a supposed drug deal he said he witnessed. Isaias Alicea had said he saw two men involved in a drug sale in the lobby of the Manhattanville Houses housing project, but surveillance video from the lobby that showed the two men never coming into contact with each other. The drug charge against the suspect was dropped, and Alicea was charged instead. Known as an aggressive cop with a lot of arrests, Alicea had earlier pleaded guilty to administrative charges of violating someone's constitutional rights by unlawfully entering and searching a Brooklyn home.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More trouble for Philly and its rogue narcs, an Alabama jail guard goes down, so does a Mississippi narc, and a Calfornia narc cops a plea to stealing dope for resale. Let's get to it:

In Philadelphia, another lawsuit was filed last Wednesday against the city's rogue narcs. A Philadelphia family sued the city and five individual members of a narcotics strike force over a December 2011 drug raid at their home. They claim the officers never identified themselves, burst into their home with guns drawn, "grabbed and verbally abused" them, and assaulted some of them. The suit also claims the narcotics officers falsified an affidavit used to obtain a search warrant, then fabricated evidence to support their claims that the family was involved in criminal activity. "The unlawful searches, use of force and detentions in this case were the direct result of all defendants’ pattern, practice and custom of subjecting citizens such as the plaintiffs to search, force and detention in the absence of probable cause," the complaint reads. "The defendant officers acted willfully, deliberately, maliciously or with reckless disregard of the plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights." In addition to the federal civil rights count, the suit also contains supplemental state law claims of false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress, outrageous conduct causing emotional distress, defamation, and invasion of privacy. The Philadelphia PD has been hit by numerous lawsuits related to its narcotics squads.

In Brewton, Alabama, an Escambia County jail guard was arrested last Friday on charges she was smuggling drugs and other contraband into the jail. Jane Rogers Johnson, 58, went down in an unrelated investigation into another person posing as an attorney to get access to inmates, which led to her activities being revealed. She is accused of smuggling cocaine, pills, and other items into the jail and faces two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of drug trafficking, and one count of violating the state's ethics law. At last report, she was being held without bond.

In Jackson, Mississippi, a former Jackson narcotics detective pleaded guilty last Wednesday to helping in a scheme to get a man a reduced sentence in a drug case. Robert Shegog was one of three officers who took $45,000 in return for telling prosecutors that the man was an informant and deserved a lesser sentence. He pleaded guilty to one count of bribery. He's now looking at up to 10 years in federal prison.

In San Luis Obispo, California, a San Luis Obispo police officer pleaded guilty Monday to taking cash and drugs from two people, then selling fake drugs to dealers. Corey Pierce had been assigned to the county sheriff's narcotics unit, but has been on administrative leave since the FBI began investigating after his arrest in February. He has now copped to one federal count of extortion and will be sentenced in December.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Thuggery in Philly, protecting drug shipments in Houston and Detroit, sticky fingers in Los Angeles, and that's not all. Let's get to it:

In Philadelphia, five undercover narcotics officers are the subject of a civil rights lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was wrongfully arrested during a drug raid at a friend's auto shop that included acts of police brutality directed at him and others present. Thomas Basara claims the narcs used a battering ram to break down an office door and conduct a search without a search warrant.  The lawsuit says the narcs never identified themselves as police, asked those present "where the money and drugs were hidden," then brutally assaulted them. Office Thomas Liciardello was named as an officer who struck one man with a steel pipe, knocking him unconscious, then kicked him in the mouth so hard his front upper row of teeth were separated from their roots.  He also broke the man's index finger and pointed his service revolver at the man's head, threatening to kill him. Basara claims that officers also beat him, knocking out two of his teeth and causing rib and back injuries, and that the narcs stole $41,000 in cash as drug profits, but only turned in $6,600, keeping $34,400 for themselves. The other officers named in the suit are Brian Reynolds, Brian Speiser, Michael Spicer and Lt. Robert Otto.

In Orange, Texas, a former Orange police officer was arrested last Tuesday after a citizen's complaint that he was stealing prescription pain pills. Taylor Scott Saleme resigned from his position as the complaint was investigated. He had worked as a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy for two years before joining the Orange Police Department last August. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance -- hydrocodone. He has bailed out of jail.

In Washington Park, Illinois, a Washington Park police officer was arrested last Thursday on charges he smuggled drugs to a female jail inmate. Douglas Young, 61, is charged with official misconduct for bringing narcotics and prescription drugs to an inmate of the St. Clair County Jail, where he "used his position as a law enforcement officer" to arrange jail visits to a woman in custody on theft charges. He was being held on $25,000 bail.

In Los Angeles, a former LA County sheriff's narcotics sergeant was arrested Monday on charges he stole $4,000 in cash during a sting set up by his own department. Bonnie Bryant III, 57, took the money in a July 2012 sting set up by the department's criminal internal affairs division. That sting went down after Bryant was caught on a business surveillance camera stealing money during a May 2012 bust. He is charged with one felony count each of grand theft of personal property and embezzlement by a public official. He was a narcotics task force supervisor when arrested and resigned from the department in December. He's looking at up to four years and six months if convicted.

In Houston, two former Houston police officer were convicted last Friday of protecting what they thought were drug shipments in return for bribes. Emerson Canizales, 27, and Michael Miceli, 27, went down after investigators learned they were involved in illegal conduct involving drugs and bribes. Both men acknowledged taking money to protect the drug load. They were convicted of extortion under color of law and face up to 20 years in prison when sentenced in September.

In Detroit, a former Highland park police officer was sentenced last Thursday to a year and a day in prison for agreeing to take money in exchange for delivering a shipment of cocaine. Craig Clayton, 55, was one of four Highland Park officers charged with taking bribes and conspiring to distribute cocaine. Clayton was accused of bringing his badge and gun to protect a shipment, and accepting $1,500 in cash from an FBI informant. He copped to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. Two other officers in the case have pleaded guilty.

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