More Los Angeles area cops go down in a broad conspiracy, a Customs officer gets nailed for helping traffickers, a Kentucky cop gets nailed for peddling pills, another NYPD cop gets busted, and so does a Tennessee sheriff. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:
In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Hamilton County Sheriff was arrested last Friday by federal agents who charged him with extorting money from ethnic Indian convenience store owners and laundering what he thought was drug money sent from Mexico in cremation urns. Sheriff Billy Long, 55, was arrested after an undercover FBI investigation that began in April 2007. Beginning then, Long was videotaped and audiotaped taking cash payments amounting to more than $17,000 from what he thought were convenience store owners seeking to protect their illegal gambling activities and sales of meth precursors. The FBI also hornswoggled Long into accepting five cash payments totaling $6,550 that he agreed to deliver as a payment to someone supposedly laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars of illegal drug proceeds. Long was set for a bail hearing early this week.
In Los Angeles, a former LAPD officer and his brother, a former Long Beach police officer, were convicted January 30 of ripping off drug dealers in a series of burglaries and robberies between 1999 and 2001. Former LAPD Officer William Ferguson and former Long Beach Police Officer Joseph Ferguson were found guilty of conspiring to violate civil rights, conspiring to possess narcotics with the intent to distribute, and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. They were part of a broader conspiracy to rip-off dealers that has so far resulted in guilty pleas from 15 people, including members of the LAPD, Long Beach Police, LA County Sheriff's Department, and the California Department of Corrections. The rogue cops would target locations where drugs were being sold, then hit the places, pretending that they were conducting legitimate drug raids. The victims were variously restrained, cuffed, threatened, or assaulted during the robberies. The cops would give their booty to civilian co-conspirators to sell, then split the proceeds among themselves.
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a Customs and Border Protection officer was convicted last Friday on federal charges of attempting to help traffickers smuggle cocaine and heroin into Miami International airport from Puerto Rico. Officer Edwin Disla was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and attempted possession with intent to distribute heroin. Disla went down in a sting after agreeing to carry what he thought was cocaine through the Luis Munoz Marin Airport in Puerto Rico and Miami International Airport. During his trip, he used his law enforcement authority to bypass security. He was arrested in Puerto Rico after agreeing to take possession of multi-pound shipments of what he thought were heroin and cocaine. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced in April.
In Louisville, Kentucky, a former central Kentucky police officer was sentenced Monday for plotting with his girlfriend to peddle Oxycontin. Former Lebanon Police Sgt. David Carr, 33, was sentenced to one year and a day after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute the drug. He and his girlfriend were arrested together in June; she got four months in jail and four months of house arrest.
In New York City, an NYPD detective was indicted January 31 on federal charges that he was providing confidential information to cocaine dealers. Detective Luis Batista pleaded not guilty to drug dealing, obstruction of justice, and other charges in a case where he is accused of participating in a drug ring run by old friends. Another NYPD officer, internal affairs Sgt. Henry Conde, was also indicted, on charges that last year he tipped Batista that he was the target of an internal probe.