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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

We have a Deep South trio of dirty officers this week. Let's get to it:

In Brandon, Mississippi, a veteran drug enforcement officer with the Rankin County Sheriff's Office was arrested August 20. Deputy Scott Walters, head of drug enforcement and the department's drug dog officer, is charged with falsifying his time sheet. That charge is a felony. More charges could follow.

In Cochran, Georgia, a Cochran police officer was arrested August 20 on drug and other charges. Officer Elijah Mills, 30, faces charges of conspiracy to sell a controlled substance and violating his oath of office. His arrest comes as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating allegations of misconduct in the department.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a former East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy was sentenced last Friday to 10 years in prison on drug charges. Former deputy Larry Wright, 28, was convicted of attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense. He will also do three years of supervised release after serving his time.

Read last issue's corrupt cops stories here.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A quiet week on the corrupt cops front, but the two stories we do have share a common theme: problems with snitches. Let's get to it:

In Gaffney, South Carolina, a Cherokee County sheriff's officer was arrested Tuesday and fired Wednesday for exchanging drugs for sex with a female confidential informant. Now former Officer Troy Cooper, 56, is accused of providing marijuana, money, and other contraband to the informant in return for sexual favors between March 2008 and last week. Investigators from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) were called in by Sheriff Bill Blanton. A search warrant in the case indicates that SLED has recorded telephone conversations between Blanton and the informant.

In St. Louis, police commanders are at odds with the police union over departmental demands that up to 20 officers reveal details about their confidential informants. The department has acknowledged in court filings that "one or more" officers "have included false information in affidavits" for warrants, and says the investigation is aimed at stopping "the concerns of police abuse and violation of civil rights." At least two officers, Shell Sharp and William Noonan, have already resigned, and prosecutors have dropped 39 cases in which one or the other officer was involved. But the police union has won a temporary restraining order to block the revealing of informant information, saying it would endanger snitches and officers. Whether they can win a permanent injunction will be decided next week.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The Chronicle may have taken a week off, but corrupted law enforcers didn't take time off from their illicit enterprises, and there was no letup in corrupt cops stories. Here's this week's motley crew.

In Verona, Virginia, an Augusta County Correctional Center guard was arrested August 1 for smuggling in marijuana for inmates. Guard April Hogsett, 26, faces a Class 5 felony charge and is looking at up to 10 years in prison. A Virginia Department of Corrections Office of the Inspector General agent executed a search warrant on Hogsett's vehicle the previous day and seized a phone, plastic baggies, and letters -- but no marijuana. That search came after an informant told authorities Hogsett was to supply marijuana to an inmate known to be dealing in the jail. Authorities said cell phone and inmate money order records backed that story.

In Clatskanie, Oregon, a Clatskanie police officer was arrested August 5 for burglarizing a home to steal prescription drugs. Officer Joseph Lee Harrison, 35, was charged with burglary, theft, and official misconduct for the late July burglary. He was accused of stealing prescription painkillers, and the victims told deputies they believed he was addicted to the drugs. Harrison is out on bail.

In Crossett, Arkansas, a Crossett police officer was arrested Sunday for selling drug investigation information and other files to the target of that investigation and conspiring with him to invest in the crack cocaine trade. Officer Darrell Webb is now a former officer, having been fired immediately after being charged with second degree forgery, theft of property, conspiracy to deliver cocaine and laundering criminal proceeds. Last July, Webb stopped a vehicle driven by the drug suspect, set up a meeting at a remote location, showed him a case file on him, and offered to sell it to him for $800. The suspect gave Webb $600 and agreed to meet later to pay the balance. The next day, the suspect called Webb at work and asked him if he wanted the rest of the money. The suspect recorded that call. The pair met, the suspect paid, and again recorded the conversation, with Webb saying he had deleted the damaging information. Webb then asked if he could make a profit investing in drugs for retail sale. The drug suspect then went to the department's top brass with his information, and Webb went down. He's now in jail trying to raise $50,000 bond.

In Zanesville, Ohio, a former Zanesville police officer was sentenced July 30 to 20 years in prison for teaming up with two other former local cops to rip off drug dealers. Former officer Sean Beck and his co-conspirators Trevor Fusner and Chad Mills had all originally been charged with six felony counts after being arrested in October 2007 in the act of ripping off a drug dealer at gunpoint in a local cemetery. All three eventually pleaded to one count each of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and one count each of having a weapon while committing a drug trafficking offense. The trio went down after a local drug dealer went to the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office to complain they were shaking him down, making him sell drugs for them, and splitting the proceeds. He then became a confidential informant, recording various conversations, and informing authorities so that deputies and FBI agents were waiting when Beck and buddies tried their cemetery heist.

In San Diego, a former San Diego police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 30 months in federal prison for giving inside information to drug traffickers. Former officer Juan Hurtado Tapia, 39, had admitted informing drug traffickers about an ongoing investigation and lying to federal officials about it. He pleaded guilty to obstructing an official investigation, making false statements, and a misdemeanor count of misusing a computer. Hurtado provided traffickers with background check information about a person they suspected of being an informer.

(Read last issue's corrupt cops compilation here.)

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A potentially very ugly scandal is brewing in the DC suburbs, a Pennsylvania cop gets busted just after buying some smack, a California prison guard was peddling PCP, and a former Miami-Dade cop cops a plea in an Ecstasy sting. Let's get to it:

In Washington, DC, federal authorities are investigating a group of Washington area police officers they suspect took money to protect a gambling operation frequented by powerful drug dealers. The officers include five from Prince Georges County, Maryland, a DC police official, and a former DC Housing Authority officer. Investigators have phone records, surveillance, and other records tying the officers to the game's operators, which include known drug dealers. Investigators are looking into whether any of the officers are linked to several killings connected to the ring. An FBI task force and Prince Georges internal affairs are investigating at least two of the officers for active participation in the drug trade and several of them for trafficking in stolen property.

In Pittsburgh, a New Bethlehem police officer was arrested last week when his vehicle was pulled over just after purchasing $450 worth of heroin. Officer Charles Edwards III faces charges of felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; carrying a firearm without a license as a third-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance as an unclassified misdemeanor; and two traffic law violations. Police saw a pistol in plain sight in his car when they stopped him, and Edwards consented to a search of the vehicle. Police found the heroin during the search. Edwards was booked and released last week on $5,000 cash bail. He has been suspended without pay while his department investigates.

In Fresno, California, a Corcoran State Prison guard was arrested last Friday for selling PCP. Argelia Tovar went down after a three week investigation into drug sales at her home. Fresno police found five grams of solid PCP, a small quantity of liquid PCP, and a dozen PCP-laced cigarettes. It is unclear whether she was smuggling drugs into the state prison. Tovar is now on administrative leave.

In Miami, a former Miami-Dade County police officer pleaded guilty July 22 to drug charges after he got caught in an FBI undercover sting involving Ecstasy shipments. Jorge Delgado, a three-year veteran, admitted using his patrol vehicle to protect what he thought was a shipment of Ecstasy. He was supposed to get $2,500 for his efforts; instead he got arrested. Delgado faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced September 30.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug war-related corruption extends beyond cops and deputies, and this week is a good example. We've got a federal probation agent in trouble, a US Navy police officer in trouble, a prosecutor heading for prison, as well as a crooked narc and an Ecstasty-dealing deputy. Unusually, what we don't have this week is a dope-smuggling prison guard. Let's get to it:

In McAllen, Texas, a federal probation officer was arrested July 15 for using government data bases to run background checks on truck drivers for a drug trafficking organization. Armando Mora, 36, is charged with drug trafficking and bribery. He allegedly took payments from drug traffickers to do the background checks and warned them against hiring three truck drivers this year because two were undercover agents and one was one of his own probationers and an FBI informant. Mora got paid $5,000 for that last bit of information.

In Benton Harbor, Michigan, a Benton Harbor police narcotics supervisor was arrested last Friday after being indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption charges. Bernard Hall, 33, had supervised former Officer Andrew Collins, who was convicted of planting drug evidence and falsifying search warrants in January. Collins is currently serving 37 months in federal prison. Hall is accused of conspiring with Collins to falsify search warrants and plant drugs, as well as unlawfully seizing cash and personal property during drug raids. A second count charges him with making false statement to a grand jury investigating Collins, and the third count charges him with making false statements to the FBI and the US Attorney's Office about a drug deal by a snitch he had overseen. That drug deal never took place. Hall stepped down after being arrested. Local prosecutors are reviewing more than 100 drug cases and convictions in which Hall and Collins were involved.

In Billings, Montana, a former Carbon County prosecutor was sentenced to 2 ½ years in federal prison July 16 on a single count of maintaining a drug-involved premises. Robert Eddleman hosted cocaine parties at his residence before and after becoming the country prosecutor in 2006. He was convicted on state cocaine charges and resigned in March. Prosecutors said he tried to scuttle at least one drug case to cover up his own activities.

In Bridgeport, Connecticut, a US Navy police officer pleaded not guilty Monday to cocaine possession and distribution charges. Andy Regalado, 36, has been in custody since he was pulled over for driving erratically last month. Police turned up nine pounds of cocaine when they searched his vehicle.

In New Orleans, a Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's deputy was indicted July 16 by a federal grand jury after being arrested by federal agents earlier this month and charged with possession with the intent to distribute Ecstasy. Kevin Whittington, 44, faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

It's a corrupt cops twofer for New Jersey, another twofer for Indiana, a two-for-one special on Texas deputies, and a lone prison guard in Florida. Let's get to it:

In Bridgeton, New Jersey, a Cumberland County Jail guard was arrested Saturday for trading drugs to inmates in return for money and sex. Corrections Officer Sergey Udalovas, 52, was charged with aggravated sexual assault against a female prison visitor, with whom he had sex in return for smuggling drugs in to her jailed friend. He is also charged with possession of marijuana and possession of heroin with intent to distribute. He is currently in the Atlantic County Jail on $175,000 full-cash bail.

In Irvington, New Jersey, a New Jersey Transit police officer was indicted last Friday on charges of official misconduct, drug possession with intent to distribute, and possession of a gun during a drug offense. Sgt. Barrington Williams, 47, had been arrested last July when detectives stopped his vehicle and found 3.7 pounds of marijuana, $3,600 cash, and his service weapon. Williams, a 13-year veteran of the force, has been suspended without pay. He is out on bail.

In Westville, Indiana, an Indiana Department of Corrections guard was arrested July 7 when she arrived for work at the Westville Correctional Facility. Both the Indiana State Police and the prison's Internal Affairs Division were involved in the investigation and arrest. Guard Karen Gibson, 27, is charged with one felony count of drug trafficking. If convicted, she faces two to eight years in prison. She was last reported in jail trying to make bail.

In Indianapolis, a former Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer was sentenced July 9 to 10 years in federal prison for ripping off marijuana dealers and reselling their wares. Former officer James Davis, 34, was convicted last month of drug possession and conspiracy to distribute. He was one of three officers indicted by a federal grand jury in the scheme, which included one "raid" where they ripped off five pounds of pot and $18,000 in cash. His two partners, Jason Edwards and Robert Lear, were convicted earlier and await sentencing.

In Lubbock, Texas, two Hockley County sheriff's deputies were arrested last Friday as part of a 110-count federal indictment aimed at the Aces and Eights outlaw motorcycle gang for a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy. Deputies Gordon Bohannon and Jose Quintanilla are accused of providing gang members with information that hurt efforts to shut down the conspiracy. They and the other 28 defendants are all charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of meth, which carries a mandatory minimum 10 year prison sentence. Other defendants face additional charges.

In Sebring, Florida, a Florida prison guard was arrested last Friday for planning to smuggle drugs into the prison. Richard Pillajo, 37, thought he was conspiring with an inmate's family, but was actually talking to a Highland County Sheriff's office undercover officer when he agreed to purchase 112 grams of marijuana, 29 grams of cocaine, and 20 hydrocodone tablets and smuggle them into the Avon Park Correctional Institute in exchange for $2,500. He was charged with possession of an opium derivative with intent to sell, distribution of marijuana, trafficking in cocaine, smuggling contraband into a prison facility, and possession of narcotic equipment. At last report, he was in the Highlands County Jail trying to make a $50,500 bond.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A crooked Chicago cop goes to prison and a pair of jail guards get stung. Let's get to it:

In Chicago, a former Chicago police officer was sentenced June 30 to almost 11 years in prison for robbing drug dealers. Former officer Richard Doroniuk, 33, had pleaded guilty to racketeering and bribery and testified against another officer involved in return for prosecutors dropping a civil rights charge that could have left him looking at 30 years in prison. Doroniuk and his partner went down after they were videotaped in an FBI sting stealing $31,000 from self-storage lockers they thought were rented by drug dealers.

In Miami, an Everglades Correctional Facility guard was arrested July 2 in a sting where he thought he was negotiating with an inmate's family to smuggle a pound of pot, four ounces of cocaine, and two cell phones into the prison. Correctional Officer Shamel Watson went to collect the contraband in Collier County, but was instead met by a Collier County sheriff's deputy and arrested. It's not clear yet what the charges are, but Watson has been fired and prosecutors are promising to go after him to the fullest extent of the law.

In Amite, Louisiana, a Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's deputy was arrested Monday in a DEA sting. Deputy Kevin Whittington, 44, was allegedly providing drugs to inmates at the parish jail, and was arrested after a DEA snitch gave him 24 grams of crack cocaine and he agreed to take it to an inmate at the jail. He faces federal charges for intent to distribute crack cocaine, and is looking at up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine if convicted.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

It's been a relatively quiet week on the corrupt cops front, with just two stories this week, but one of them is a real doozy. Let's get to it:

In Memphis, a former Memphis police officer was sentenced Wednesday to a whopping life plus 255 years after being convicted of 44 counts of civil rights, narcotics, robbery, and firearms offenses. Arthur Sease IV was one of a group of rogue Memphis police officers who from November 2003 through April 2006 robbed drug dealers of cash, cocaine, and marijuana, and then sold the stolen drugs for their own profit. Sease was linked to at least 15 armed robberies during the trial. Three other Memphis police officers and two civilians have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced in the case, though none to anywhere near as long as Sease.

In Bentonia, Mississippi, a part-time Bentonia police officer was arrested Monday on felony drug charges. Officer Carl Fleming, 49, is charged with two counts of selling cocaine. He will remain behind bars until trial. He is not eligible for bail because he is already under indictment for assaulting a school teacher and was out on a felony bond at the time of his arrest.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More drug corruption in Philly, more fallout from the Kathryn Johnston killing in Atlanta, and yet another crooked border guard. Let's get to it:

In Philadelphia, a Philadelphia police detective was arraigned June 18 on charges he tipped off a major drug suspect about an imminent search warrant. Det. Rickie Durham pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and given advance notice of a search. He is accused of alerting Philly "drug kingpin" Alton "Ace Capone" Coles of a pending police raid in August 2005 and then lying to investigators when they questioned him. Durham has been suspended for 30 days, and the department says it is on track to fire him. He is on house arrest pending trial.

In Yuma, Arizona, a US Customs and Border Protection officer pleaded guilty June 18 to bribery and drug charges. CBP Officer Henry Gauani, 41, copped to conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to import Ecstasy for accepting $33,000 to allow vehicles loaded with Ecstasy to pass through the Port of Entry from Mexico without inspection. Gauani went down after a federal investigation and a sting on January 27 in which he allowed a vehicle containing what he believed to be a half million Ecstasy tablets pass through his lane without inspection. He is looking at up to 20 years in federal prison and $1,250,000 in fines.

In Atlanta, a former Atlanta Police narcotics unit supervisor was sentenced last Friday to 18 months in prison for his role in an illegal break-in search of a Dill Avenue duplex in 2005. Former officer Wilbert Stallings had pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the civil rights of the homeowner. At sentencing, US District Court Justice Julie Carnes said the sentence also reflected Stallings' role in allowing a culture of corruption to run rampant in the unit he supervised. Members of that unit were responsible for the 2006 killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in a raid based on fabricated evidence. Stallings went down as investigators looking into the Johnston killing put his unit under the microscope.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The stench emanating from Philadelphia's Narcotics Field Unit grew even more rank this week, an Arizona cop steals cash to feed his pill habit, and two Indianapolis cops turned thugs are headed for prison. Let's get to it:

In Philadelphia, the festering narcotics squad scandal just keeps getting uglier. The Philadelphia Daily News reported Wednesday that at least three women who were present at addresses raided by the Narcotics Field Unit have accused a unit member, Officer Thomas Tolstoy, of sexually assaulting them. None of the women have criminal records, none were arrested during the raids, and none of them knows the others. You can read the ugly details at the link above. This is just the latest sordid tale to emerge about the Narcotics Field Unit since February, when the Daily News reported that unit member Officer Jeffrey Cujdik lied on search warrant applications in order to get into suspected drug houses. In March, the same newspaper reported that Cujdik, Tolstoy and other dope squad members routinely raided corner stores that sold small plastic baggies, disabling surveillance cameras, threatening owners with arrest, and stealing thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise. Tolstoy is now on desk duty as the department and the FBI investigate.

In Yuma, Arizona, a Yuma Police officer was arrested June 8 for allegedly stealing more than $11,000 in cash from seized evidence to buy prescription drugs to which he was addicted. Officer Geoff Presco is charged with one felony count of theft and has been placed on paid leave. Presco went down after a detective following up on a case noticed the missing cash and other evidence and tracked it back to Presco, who had apparently been dipping into the till since February. He was named Yuma's patrol officer of the year last year. He was being held on a $55,000 bond.

In Indianapolis, two former Indianapolis Police narcotics detectives were convicted last Friday for their roles in a scheme to steal marijuana and money from pot dealers. Former detectives Robert Long, 35, and Jason Edwards, 38, were found guilty by a jury of conspiracy to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana, as well as several counts of drug possession or attempted possession with the intent to distribute. The pair went down during an FBI sting in which they were videotaped stealing pot and cash from a stash house in one incident and ripping off $20,000 from a supposed drug courier. A third officer, James Davis, earlier pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme. He faces 10 to 15 years in prison, while Long and Edwards are now looking at 20 years.

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