Police Corruption

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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Bad cops, bad cops, whatcha gonna do? A New York City cop helps drug dealers rip off other drug dealers, a North Carolina cop builds a really impressive bad cop resume, a former North Carolina sheriff can't account for much of his evidence, and an Indiana cop gets a slap on the wrist for stealing from a drug suspect. Let's get to it:

In New York City, an NYPD officer faces federal drug conspiracy charges for allegedly helping a gang of drug dealers rip off other drug dealers. Officer Darren Moonan was arrested July 8 on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to commit robberies of drugs and drug money over a seven-month period beginning last December. Moonan and his five fellow co-conspirators allegedly netted at least $810,000 in cash and 200 pounds of marijuana in its robberies of competing drug dealers. Moonan is also accused of using his badge to avoid searches and driving stolen drug money away from the scenes of the crimes. He faces up to 60 years in prison.

In Edenton, North Carolina, an Edenton police officer was arrested July 10 for planting drug evidence on innocent people. Officer Michael Aaron Davidson was charged with altering evidence in a criminal investigation for repeatedly planting crack pipes on a man he arrested when a member of the Kinston Police Department back in 2000. Davidson was investigated but never arrested, and left the Kinston department during the initial investigation. According to the SBI, Davidson has been investigated numerous times over allegations of missing money, excessive use of force, and planting evidence (three other times). He was also investigated but not charged in a case where more than $2,000 in seized drug cash went missing. Davidson only went down now because another Edenton cop, Police Officer Nichole Gardner, got busted on Oxycontin charges and decided to mention that she had seen Davidson planting evidence.

In Asheville, North Carolina, a criminal investigation is underway into evidence handling in the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office after an audit showed that cash, guns, and drugs had gone missing. Former Sheriff Bobby Medford, who was in office for 12 years, is in the hot seat over either sloppy or crooked evidence handling during his tenure. According to an audit, at least $217,000 in seized cash could not be accounted for, nor could 337 firearms. In addition, marijuana, cocaine, and pills listed on 1,138 evidence entry sheets have gone missing.

In Evansville, Indiana, a former Evansville Police officer has been sentenced for stealing money from a drug suspect. Former officer Gerald Rainey, a highly decorated veteran, was charged in April after admitting to stealing money from a backpack seized during the arrest of a suspect on an outstanding drug warrant. He plea-bargained to one count of theft and was sentenced July 13 to 18 months probation and 80 hours of community service. The felony conviction means Rainey will not be able to work again as a police officer.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The allure of Oxycontin (and its profits) snags two cops, a deputy can't keep his paws off the meth, and a South Carolina cop gets charged with drug dealing. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

In Louisville, Kentucky, a Lebanon Junction police sergeant was arrested June 25 on charges he planned to sell Oxycontin. Sgt. Daniel Carr, 33, and his girlfriend were both arrested by DEA agents on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute the popular narcotic pain reliever. Federal officials said the arrests came after a months-long investigation that resulted in several purchases of the drug from an informant, culminating with a final buy attempt that ended with the pair going to jail. Carr, a career law enforcement officer, was fired immediately upon arrest. He and his girlfriend face up to 20 years in federal prison.

In Newark, New Jersey, a former Newark narc was sentenced to nearly seven years in federal prison June 26 for his role in an Oyxcontin distribution ring. John Fernandez, 37, pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiring to possess the drug with the intent to distribute. According to federal officials, Hernandez sold more than 3,000 of the pills between September 2004 and September 2005. His defense attorney said Hernandez got the pills legally for injuries suffered on the job, but was persuaded to sell them by another Newark police officer who has also been charged in the case, but has been cooperating with authorities. Hernandez must report to federal prison by July 23.

In Deming, New Mexico, a former Luna County sheriff's deputy got a year's probation for stealing methamphetamine from a motorist. Former Deputy Tommy Salas pleaded guilty June 25 to a misdemeanor count of attempted possession of meth after being arrested in July 2006 for taking the dope off a driver at a traffic stop, but failing to log it in. Salas, who had been on leave since his arrest, resigned his position July 2 as part of the plea agreement, with his attorney saying "he needs to move on."

In Lake City, South Carolina, a Lake City police officer was charged July 2 with drug trafficking and other offenses. Officer Shanita McKnight, 34, went down after an investigation by the FBI, the State Law Enforcement Division, and the Florence County Sheriff's Office. She is also charged with extortion, and faces from 10 years to life in prison on the drug counts. Little other information has been forthcoming.

Coast leaders now blame police for the escalating drug menace

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (Kenya)

Latin America: Mexico Purges Federal Police Chiefs in Drug Corruption Review

The Mexican government announced Monday it has replaced the federal police chiefs in all 31 states and the Federal District to determine whether they are fighting drug trafficking or abetting it. The move comes as President Felipe Calderón is now six-months into an offensive against the powerful and violent so-called cartels that has seen more than 20,000 soldiers and police swarm into cities and states considered hotbeds of the drug trade.

The 32 purged chiefs must submit to and pass polygraph and drug tests before being reconsidered for their positions. Their financial status will also be scrutinized. If they pass muster, they must be retrained before being reassigned.

Drug prohibition-related corruption has been the bane of Mexican law enforcement for decades. Now, once again, a purge of police is viewed as necessary by high officials. Just last month, six federal police officers were arrested for protecting cocaine shipments at the Mexicali airport.

"Every federal cop is obliged to carry out his post with legality, honesty and efficiency," Public Safety Secretary Genaro García Luna said at a news conference Monday announcing the housecleaning. "In the fight against crime, we have strategies. One axis of our strategy is to professionalize and purge our police corps."

Nearly 7,000 of Mexico's 20,000 federal police, who investigate drug crimes and homicides, have been assigned to work alongside the more than 12,000 soldiers deployed in Calderón's war on drugs. That police are working side by side with soldiers has raised concerns that they could be undercutting Calderón's campaign by passing information on to the drug traffickers.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Busy, busy. A Virginia police chief gets caught selling speed, a New Jersey State Trooper gets arrested for stealing and re-selling seized drugs, a New Jersey prison guard gets nailed trying to smuggle prescription drugs into the prison, a former Schenectady narc pleads guilty to ripping off cocaine from the evidence locker, a former Border Patrol agent is going to prison for stealing a bale of pot he was supposed to be guarding, and a corrupt Milwaukee cop wants back pay. Let's get to it:

In Damascus, Virginia, the police chief was arrested Saturday on charges he was selling methamphetamine. Chief Anthony Richardson faces seven felony counts of drug distribution and possessing a weapon while possessing drugs. He went down after an undercover investigation where a snitch bought speed off the chief on June 12. Richardson was arrested without incident at the city police department. Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said there is now a federal investigation into Richardson.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, a state trooper was indicted and arrested June 21 on charges he stole and sold drugs seized by police. Trooper Brian Holmes, 41, had been suspended without pay since May 2006, when his partner, Trooper Moises Hernandez, pleaded guilty to aiding members of a drug ring. Hernandez is now doing a 24-year state prison sentence. Holmes was indicted on 13 counts including official misconduct, theft, falsifying records and drug trafficking for, among other things, stealing more than 10 pounds of cocaine from a 123-pound seizure at a Newark warehouse in August 2002 and giving the stolen drugs to Hernandez to sell. He is also charged with stealing a thousand ecstasy tablets from a seizure in Elizabeth in 2004 and selling them with Hernandez.

In Fairton, New Jersey, a federal prison guard was arrested June 14 on charges he accepted bribes to smuggle contraband into the prison. Steven Harper, 32, a guard at the Fairton Federal Correctional Institution, is accused of taking money from a person he thought was an inmate's relative to smuggle in prescription drugs, protein powder, work-out supplements and cigarettes. That person was actually an undercover agent. Harper was snitched out by an inmate after agreeing to smuggle in the goods for $6,000. He is now out on $100,000 bond and faces up to 15 years in prison.

In Schenectady, New York, a former Schenectady narc admitted Monday that he stole crack cocaine from the vice squad evidence locker. The admission came as former narcotics officer Jeffrey Curtis pleaded guilty to drug possession and evidence tampering in a plea bargain that will limit his prison time to four years max. Earlier this year, an investigation into missing drug evidence found that cocaine had gone missing in 15 cases and marijuana in one. While Curtis confessed to taking some of the missing dope, he said he couldn't remember if he took all the cocaine State Police investigators said was missing. Curtis first came to investigators' attention after he failed a drug test given in connection with the investigation into the missing drugs. Police put him under surveillance and arrested him March 16 after they spotted him coming out of a suspected drug-dealing house. It's only the latest problem for a troubled department: Earlier this decade, four patrol officers went to prison for rewarding snitches with crack cocaine, another went to prison for giving a gun to a drug dealer, and earlier this year, another officer admitted tipping off a friend about a gambling investigation but was allowed to keep his job.

In Tucson, a former US Border Patrol agent is going to prison for stealing marijuana while on duty. Michael Carlos Gonzalez, 34, was found guilty in March of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense. Gonzales was on duty back on December 6 when an Arizona highway patrolman pulled over a vehicle and found 30 bales of weed. The patrolman left Gonzalez to guard the stash, but his dashboard camera showed Gonzalez taking one bale and putting in the trunk of his car. The weed was never recovered. Gonzales must now do 7 ½ years in federal prison.

In Milwaukee, a police detective fired for his involvement in the theft of drug money planted by the FBI is seeking back pay and benefits. Milwaukee Detective Philip Sliwinski was caught up in a sting aimed at another Milwaukee police officer, Edwin Bonilla, after reports that Bonilla had taken drug money from crime scenes. In August 2000, the FBI left a bag with $23,000 in a hotel room, where Bonilla found it. Bonilla testified that he, Sliwinski, and a third officer each took $1,000. Sliwinski was never charged, but he was fired. Now he is seeking back pay and benefits after the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled he was denied the right to fully question a federal agent involved in the sting. While the court upheld his firing, Sliwinski's lawyer is arguing that even though he was fired, he should be eligible for pay and benefits up until the state Fire and Police Commission rehears his case.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Puerto Rican narc gets caught robbing an armored car, a Mississippi cop gets nailed for selling and using speed, and a Toledo cop who liked to party too much cops a plea. Let's get to it:

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, a Puerto Rican police officer working with the DEA was charged with robbing an armored car. Angel Fernandez Ramos, who worked as an anti-drug officer for the past four years, was one of five men arrested last Friday in the $515,000 heist. Among the others were Ramos' father and two uncles. The money has been recovered. FBI officials said they were looking into links between this robbery and other armored car robberies on the island.

In Gulfport, Mississippi, a former Moss Point police officer was sentenced June 14 to 41 months in prison for drug trafficking on the job. Wendy Peyregne was arrested in December 2006 and charged with six counts of methamphetamine trafficking after a two-year investigation by the FBI. She ended up pleading guilty to two counts. According to the FBI, Peyregne made drug deals while on duty at the Moss Point police station, dealt drugs from her patrol car, and used meth while on duty. She shared the meth she scored with, among others, an ex-boyfriend, who turned snitch and helped bring her down.

In Toledo, Ohio, a former Toledo police officer pleaded guilty June 14 to a drug misdemeanor. Former officer Bryan Traband was originally charged with felony drug possession, and three misdemeanors -- permitting drug abuse, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of drugs -- but was allowed to plead guilty to a single charge of permitting drug use. Toledo police raided Traband's residence after a snitch twice told them in February he was selling, possessing, and using cocaine and marijuana and that he would be having a party on March 16. Police raided the home that night. Traband received a suspended six-month sentence at the Correction Center of Northwest Ohio.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Yet another prison guard goes down, and a Georgia narc gets caught sleeping with his snitches. Let's get to it:

In London, Kentucky, a former guard got 6 ½ years in prison June 8 for smuggling drugs into the Big Sandy federal prison. Alice Marie Stapleton, 31, was charged last year with being part of a conspiracy to smuggle heroin, marijuana, and contraband cell phones into the maximum security prison. She admitted receiving $1,000 each of three times she smuggled contraband behind the bars. Her 78-month sentence was the maximum allowed under federal sentencing guidelines.

In Augusta, Georgia, a former drug squad supervisor pleaded guilty Monday to lying to an FBI agent about not sleeping with his informants. Mathue Phares, 38, an 18-year veteran of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office was forced to resign in December as an investigation into allegations of civil rights violations got underway. Having sex with one's informants could be a civil rights violation because an officer is in a position of power or authority over an informant. Phares initially denied sleeping with his snitches, but later admitted to one sexual relationship. Now the feds say there was more than one. Phares is free on his own recognizance pending sentencing. He faces up to five years in federal prison.

Crooked Cops Weaken Mexico's War on Drugs


This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Well, thank goodness for crooked prison guards! If it wasn't for them, all we would have is a blank space here this week. Let's get to it:

In Michigan City, Indiana, a state prison guard was arrested Monday for bringing marijuana intended for an inmate to work in her lunch box. Indiana State Prison guard Joann Smith, 44, a 20-year veteran, was arraigned Tuesday in LaPorte County Superior Court on felony drug trafficking charges. Smith went down after a tip to the prison's Internal Affairs Department. When she was searched upon arrest, her lunch box contained a cell phone, rolling papers, and a package of pot hidden inside her food.

In Quincy, Massachusetts, a Suffolk County jail guard has pleaded not guilty to charges he was selling Oxycontin and steroids on the streets. Alexander Santarelli, 32, a two-year veteran at the House of Corrections, was arrested May 31 after Quincy police armed with a search warrant and drug sniffing dogs raided his home. In a locked safe in his living room closet, they found $7,009 in cash, 60 OxyContin pills, and three handguns and ammunition, according to Quincy police report filed in Quincy District Court. They also found "several types of steroids" and an unloaded .40-caliber Glock pistol in the closet. Santarelli's license to carry firearms has been suspended, and he has been placed on administrative leave without pay. Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral said police are investigating whether Santarelli also sold drugs inside the jail.

Everyone Profits at Helmand's Drug Bazaar--The poppy harvest is in and everyone from the Taliban to local government officials is cooperating to get the opium crop to market.

ISN Security Watch

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