Narcs gone wild, narcs cheating on their pay, narcs stealing dope, narcs lying on the stand, a perverted sheriff heads to prison, and that's just the half of it. Let's get to it:
In Philadelphia, a scandal over the behavior of the Philadelphia police Narcotics Field Unit keeps growing. Originally centered on narcotics officer Jeffrey Cujdik and accusations he lied in documenting drug arrests, the stench from the narcotics squad keeps getting more foul. Numerous convenience store owners have reported Cujdik and his squad members raided their shops, destroyed surveillance cameras in the stores, trashed the places, stole cigarettes, took thousands in cash while reporting much less, and then arrested them for selling small plastic bags that could be used to contain drugs. The Philadelphia Daily News interviewed seven store owners with remarkably similar stories, including several who said the narcs took food and slurped energy drinks, and others who said they stole cigarette cartons, batteries, cell phones, and candy bars. At least three of Cudjdik's snitches told the newspaper he gave them cartons of cigarettes. A special task force of FBI and Philadelphia police internal affairs was already investigating Cujdik over the earlier allegations; now that probe could spread to at least 17 other officers and three police supervisors involved in the convenience store raids.
In McKeesport, Pennsylvania, the entire McKeesport Police narcotics unit has been implicated in a pay scam. Seven officers were suspended last week after Chief Joe Pero discovered they were billing the city for court appearances they never made. Those suspended include two lieutenants and all four members of the dope squad. All have been reassigned. No word yet on any possible criminal charges.
In Alamagordo, New Mexico, an Alamagordo Department of Public Safety undercover narcotics officer was arrested last Friday after fellow officers noticed him acting erratically, took him to a hospital for drug testing, and received a positive drug test result. Richard Ramsdale then went down for trafficking by possession with intent to distribute after further investigation uncovered 1.3 pounds of unaccounted for cocaine in his cruiser. He was booked into the Otero County Jail and placed on administrative leave pending a termination hearing.
In New York City, an NYPD narcotics detective was indicted Monday on charges she perjured herself in a drug case. Detective Debra Eager was a little over-eager to make a collar stick when she told a court she and her partner watches two drug suspects carrying boxes into a building. She testified that she then followed the pair into the building, arrested them, and seized 33 pounds of marijuana. But she didn't realize the building was under video surveillance, which directly contradicted her testimony. The case was thrown out, and Eager was indicted on three counts of first-degree perjury, each worth up to seven years in prison. She is also suspended without pay.
In New Orleans, a rookie New Orleans police officer was arrested Saturday in a string of home invasion assaults originally thought to have been committed by someone impersonating a police officer. Officer Darrius Clipps faces numerous charges after admitting he had burst into the women's homes, demanded drugs and money, and forced his victims to undress. Clipps went down after a composite sketch of the suspect was released and several of his fellow officers recognized him. He faces charges of malfeasance in office, sexual battery, false imprisonment with a weapon, simple and aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling. He resigned upon arrest.
In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a Luzerne County Correctional Facility officer was charged March 18 with being part of a multi-million dollar drug trafficking ring run by the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. Guard John Gonda, 38, was one of 22 people arrested by SWAT teams belonging to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office in wrapping up a ring officials said was distributing a kilogram of cocaine every 10 days. Investigators seized 528 grams of cocaine, cutting agents, drug paraphernalia, more than $5,000 cash, rifles, shotguns, handguns, bulletproof vests, the gang's bylaws and a list of Outlaw associates in prison. Officials said they did not know if Gonda was peddling coke at the jail.
In Dallas, a Dallas County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty this week to plotting to rip off drug dealers. Standric Choice, 36, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. Choice had plotted with two other men to steal cocaine from a dealer by having one of them pretend to be a snitch, then arresting the snitch and taking the cocaine from the dealer. He went down in a sting at a Dallas truck stop. He now faces 10 years to life in federal prison and a $4.25 million fine.
In Memphis, two former Memphis officers were sentenced March 18 in a federal corruption case in which they admitted stealing drugs from dealers and reselling them. Former officers Antoine Owens and Alexander Johnson were sentenced in federal court to five years and two years respectively after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights. They admitted conspiring with two other Memphis police officers to use their police authority to stop drug dealers, then steal dope and cash from them.
In Fairview, Oklahoma, a former Custer County Sheriff was sentenced Tuesday to 79 years in prison for sexually abusing female prisoners and drug court defendants. Former Sheriff Mike Burgess was sentenced on felony charges including five counts of second-degree rape. He was convicted of using his power over the women to force them to have sex with him.
In Brownsville, Texas, a former San Benito police officer was sentenced Tuesday to more than 13 years in federal prison for scheming with one other San Benito police officer and a local small business owner to rip off drug loads. Edgar Heberto Lopez and his partners in crime stole 200 to 300 pounds of pot during a February 2003 traffic stop, paid a tow truck driver $1,000 to haul the vehicle with the pot to a safe location in San Benito, and later sold 50 pounds of their stash to an undercover officer in February 2004. The two cops got $7,500 each in that deal. The next month, they stole six kilograms of cocaine during another traffic stop. They were supposed to get $10,000 for that heist; instead they got busted. Lopez pleaded guilty in July 2004, but fled before sentencing, only to be recaptured in April 2008. He has been jailed ever since, and he will be for a long time after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent marijuana, possession with intent to distribute more than 100 pounds of marijuana, carrying a firearm during the commission of a crime, and failure to appear.