A pair of cops turned thugs in St. Louis are jeopardizing a pile of drug convictions, a cop turned thug in Dallas will stay behind bars until trial, a Customs and Border Patrol officer heads to prison, and a Massachusetts town still can't find pot that went missing from its police department half a decade ago -- but it's trying. Let's get to it:
In Los Angeles, a former Customs and Border Patrol officer was sentenced last Friday to seven years in federal prison for conspiring to smuggle marijuana and illegal immigrants across the border. Former officer Luis Francisco Alarid, 32, also forfeited $175,000 in bribes he had received for his efforts. He pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to smuggle more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and bribery. Court documents reveal that Alarid allowed several vehicles containing contraband to cross the border unmolested during his seven-month tenure at the Otay Mesa border crossing, including a minivan loaded with 260 pounds of pot and four illegal immigrants. He went down in May, when the Border Corruption Task Force caught him trying to admit vehicles containing undocumented immigrants and 23 pounds of pot.
In Dallas, a former Dallas County sheriff's deputy will remain behind bars pending trial for allegedly stealing cocaine from a man he thought was a South Texas drug trafficker, but who was really an undercover officer. The judge in the case made the bail decision February 19 after watching a video of former deputy Standric Choice, 36, doing the rip-off at a local truck stop. Choice faces charges of engaging in a drug conspiracy while wearing his weapon. Choice was one of three men charged in the scheme. One pleaded guilty February 17, another has pleaded not guilty. Choice's trial date is April 13.
In Dracut, Massachusetts, the Dracut Police Department is still trying to figure out who got away with $80,000 worth of marijuana in 2003. The pot was stored in a padlocked outdoor storage locker at the back of the police station when it vanished more than five and a half years ago. Investigations by then Middlesex County DA Martha Coakley (now Massachusetts attorney general) and the State Police in 2003 and by Coakley's replacement, Gerry Leone, in 2007 didn't come up with enough evidence to arrest anyone. Now city selectmen have begun a third investigation, calling in the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, which conducts investigations of local departments if invited. Lie detector tests of police officers began in December. But the clock is ticking; the statute of limitations on prosecuting the crime will run out in a few weeks.
In St. Louis, more than a thousand drug convictions are under review because of corruption cases filed against two St. Louis police officers in December. Officers Bobby Lee Garrett, 48, and Vincent Carr, 46, were arrested by the FBI and accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a drug dealer, planting money, drugs, and a gun, and covering it all up. Carr pleaded guilty February 13, while Garrett is pleading not guilty. The cases against Garrett and Carr have already caused St. Louis prosecutors to drop 47 cases, and they are reviewing another 986 convictions to see whether the pair played a significant role in them. Federal prosecutors have already "put the brakes on" three cases before charges were filed and are reviewing another 45 to 50 more.