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.