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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Two Atlanta cops are headed to prison in the Kathryn Johnston killing, an NYPD narc goes down for drug running, and a strung-out Pennsylvania cop heads to jail for peddling pills. Let's get to it:

In Atlanta, two Atlanta police officers were ordered Monday to report to prison to begin serving their sentences for their roles of the killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in a drug raid gone bad a year ago this week. In that incident, the officers involved lied to a judge to obtain a search warrant for Johnston's home, shot at her 39 times after she shot once at them as they broke her door down, planted marijuana in her basement, and tried to get an informant to say he had provided the information for the warrant. No drugs other than the planted pot were found at her home. Officers Jason Smith and Gregg Junnier pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and other state charges and to federal allegations of conspiracy to violate a person's civil rights ending in death. They have been cooperating with federal authorities in an ongoing investigation into the incident and broader issues of misconduct in the Atlanta narcotics squad, but now a federal judge has ordered them to report to prison by December 3. They have not yet been sentenced, but in their plea bargain agreements, the deal was that Smith would get no more than 12 years and Junnier no more than 10, with possible sentence cuts depending on their degree of cooperation. A third officer involved in the incident, Arthur Tesler, faces state charges. His trial will probably begin in April.

In New York City, an NYPD narcotics officer was arrested last Friday on charges he used inside knowledge to run drugs for a Bronx-based cocaine and heroin trafficking ring. Detective James Calderon, a 13-year veteran of the force, was arraigned on drug possession and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors allege that Calderon smuggled a total of eight kilos of cocaine from New York City to Virginia on two trips in 2004 and 2005. Calderon went down after attempting to get an impounded minivan released from police custody. NYPD officers at the 44th Precinct refused to release the vehicle to Calderon, then searched it and found a kilo of heroin inside.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, a former Scranton police officer was sentenced Tuesday on Oxycontin delivery charges. Then Scranton Police Officer Mark Conway was arrested in March after an informant told police he had bought drugs from Conway on more than one occasion. He pleaded guilty in August and resigned from the force. Now, he will do one month in prison on a three-to-18 month sentence, and then he will be placed on work release. Conway's defense attorney said he wasn't a "drug pusher," but a drug user who occasionally sold drugs to others.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Tennessee's narc of the year gets busted, and cops in Boston and Buffalo cop pleas. Let's get to it:

In Knoxville, Tennessee, a the state's narcotics officer of the year was indicted last Friday on federal charges for taking kickbacks from drug dealers. Knoxville Police Sgt. Brady Valentine, 36, a 13-year veteran, is accused of taking money from marijuana traffickers to allow one load a month to pass unmolested over a three-year period, as well as trafficking in steroids and giving dealers tips to help them avoid getting busted. Valentine was a member of the West Tennessee Violent Crimes and Drug Task Force, a multi-agency team that regularly lands some of the biggest drug busts in the state, and was honored last month as the state's top narc at the Tennessee Narcotics Officers Association annual convention in Gatlinburg.

In Boston, a Boston Police officer pleaded guilty November 8 to federal cocaine trafficking charges, becoming the third to cop a plea in a scandal involving cops providing protection to drug traffickers. Officer Robert Pulido, 42, pleaded guilty after two days of testimony in his trial where his own words on FBI tapes portrayed him as an unscrupulous character more akin to a crime boss than a law officer. He and his partners, Officers Nelson Carrasquillo and Carlos Pizarro, plotted unknowingly with undercover FBI officers to protect trucks carrying 140 pounds of cocaine to Boston. Carrasquillo and Pizarro have already pleaded guilty, and now Pulildo has joined them, copping to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin and two counts of attempting to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine. He also pleaded no contest to carrying a gun in a drug trafficking crime. He faces 15 years to life when he is sentenced February 6. In the meantime, the Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis is vowing to investigate other allegations of corruption that occurred during Pulido's trial, including steroid sales, gambling parties, and illegal after hours parties conducted by other Boston police officers.

In Buffalo, New York, a Buffalo police officer pleaded guilty last Friday in federal court to setting up a phony traffic stop as part of a drug rip-off. Officer Ronnie Funderburk, 42, a nine-year veteran, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to possess cocaine. Funderburk admitted conspiring with a drug dealer to convince one of the dealer's customers that he had seized $14,000 worth of cocaine that the customer had already paid for. The drug dealer copped a plea last month and faces 20 to life. Funderburk faces up to six months when he is sentenced in March.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A New York cop goes down for peddling pot, a Connecticut cop goes down for slinging smack, and a Nashville cop goes to the pen for ripping off a drug dealer. Let's get to it:

In New York City, a veteran Manhattan cop was arrested October 31 as police rounded up suspects in a marijuana-smuggling ring that allegedly brought millions of dollars worth of weed from Canada to Long Island. NYPD Officer Glen Smokler, a 13-year veteran assigned to the 30th Precinct in Harlem, is charged with three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy. Altogether more than 30 people were arrested in Suffolk and Nassau counties, and cops seized more than $3 million in cash, 23 luxury cars, a 44-foot yacht, 10 assault rifles and more than 100 pounds of pot. Ironically, Smokler himself brought down the long-running operation when he burglarized the home of the ringleaders, leading a tipster to tell police Smokler had done it. From there, a five-month investigation broadened until its denouement last week.

In Bridgeport, Connecticut, a Stamford police officer was arrested on drug charges on October 25. Officer Quinn Fillippino, 28, was charged with possession of narcotics with the intent to sell after Bridgeport police spotting him and a passenger allegedly selling drugs from his vehicle. Police said the drug was heroin. Fillippino is on paid leave and at last report was being held on $50,000 bail.

In Nashville, a former Nashville police officer was sentenced last Friday to 2 ½ years in prison for his role in the 2003 robbery of a drug dealer. Charles Williams III was convicted in January of participating in and concealing a robbery cooked up by his partner, Officer Ernest Cecil, and his nephew, Corey Cecil. The younger Cecil, a cocaine dealer, arranged for Williams and his uncle to pull over a vehicle in which he was a passenger and which also contained 3.5 kilos of cocaine. The apparently legitimate law enforcement stop allowed young Cecil to make off with the cocaine, which he sold for more than $70,000, giving some of the profits to Williams and his uncle. Williams is now doing 12 years, and young Cecil is doing 6 ½ despite testifying against the other two.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A top narc admits he was dirty, a border drug squad deputy commander goes to prison, a deputy police chief is under investigation, and yes, another prison guard gets busted. Let's get to it:

In New Haven, Connecticut, the former head of the New Haven police drug squad admitted last Friday to stealing tens of thousands of dollars left by the FBI in a corruption sting and taking thousands more in bribes from bail bondsmen. William White, 63, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property and one count of conspiracy to take bribes. The flamboyant White, a 39-year veteran, was New Haven's top narc throughout the 1990s and collected much of the evidence used by federal anti-crime task forces to break up drug dealing organizations in New Haven and Bridgeport, but was always shadowed by allegations of evidence-fixing and missing drug money. He went down when the FBI caught him on video stealing $27,500 from the trunk of a car he was told belonged to a drug dealer. During the investigation, White also boasted that he had made a lot of money off bail bondsmen by accepting bribes to help them find fugitives -- a service police should provide in the normal course of business. That led to the bribery conspiracy charge. Legal documents introduced in court also show at least one case of detectives manufacturing evidence to bolster a potential drug prosecution. Charges were dropped in that case. White was fired after his arrest. Police Chief Francisco Orti later disbanded the narcotics unit. Some of its cases were turned over to the state police pending a review of the unit's performance.

In San Antonio, a former deputy commander of the Laredo Multi-Agency Narcotics Task Force was sentenced to eight years in prison last Friday for taking bribes from drug traffickers to let their loads pass unmolested. Julio Alfonso Lopez, 46, had pleaded guilty in July 2006 to extorting $44,500 from dealers to protect loads coming though Zapata County on the Texas-Mexico border. An FBI investigation found that Lopez had taken money from traffickers on four occasions in 2005 and 2006. He had been deputy commander of the task force for about a year when he was arrested in April 2006.

In Lynnwood, Washington, the deputy police chief is under investigation over missing cash, guns, and drugs. Deputy Chief Paul Watkins has been questioned by the FBI about his tenure as commander of the Investigations Division, where he oversaw property seized from suspects. The Lynnwood Police called in the feds after an internal audit showed that cash released to him could not be accounted for. In one case, Watkins allegedly signed for a package containing $14,000 cash, two handguns, and two grams of cocaine. That package never made it to the evidence room, and efforts to find it have been fruitless. He is also accused of at least five other instances of pocketing cash seized from suspects, and a federal grand jury in Seattle will look at the case shortly. Watkins is now on paid administrative leave from the department.

In El Dorado, Kansas, a prison guard was arrested October 24 for trying to smuggle contraband into the prison. Nikkia Shanae Abrams, 27, a guard at the El Dorado Correctional Facility, was busted carrying marijuana, tobacco, and vodka into the prison. She faces three counts of trafficking and contraband at a correctional institution. Each count carries a sentence of up to 11 ½ years in prison. Abrams was last reported in jail trying to make a $30,000 bond. She'll be back in court November 19.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Sex and drugs! Sex and drugs! That's our law enforcement corruption theme this week as a gaggle of hormonally-challenged Southern cops let it all hang out above and beyond the call of duty. Let's get to it:

In Lebanon, Tennessee, a state trooper fired for letting a dope-toting porn star go free in exchange for a sex act turned himself in at the Wilson County Courthouse Tuesday morning to face a series of criminal charges for his special deal. Trooper Randy Moss, 40, stopped porn actress Barbie Cummings (real name: Justis Richert) for speeding on May 7 and found illicit drugs in the car. He wrote her a speeding ticket, but Richert claimed on her blog that she negotiated the sex act to avoid drug charges. Moss resigned after Cummings went public, although it appears he was undone by his own urge to brag. Cummings did not name Moss in her original blog post, and says a day later Moss asked her permission to tell some of his co-workers about his exploit, which is how she believes the information got out. He now faces one count of tampering with evidence, four counts of official misconduct, and one count of official oppression from the May incident. It apparently wasn’t his first time. He also faces four counts stemming from a similar incident in September 2006.

In Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, an Atlantic Beach police officer was arrested last Friday for receiving a sex act from a woman in return for not arresting her on drug charges. Officer Terence Wiggins, 45, allegedly caught a woman with crack cocaine while on duty, did his thing with the woman, then gave her crack back. He was arrested after an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division and is now charged with misconduct in office. He is now out on bond with no court date yet set.

In Aiken, South Carolina, the last remaining Aiken County narcotics officer has resigned. Investigator Brian Owens quit Wednesday after five years with the agency. He had been suspended earlier this month at the same time his four fellow narcs in the squad were fired for taking a county-owned vehicle to bars and because one of them committed a sex act with a woman in the car on the way to a motel. The entire unit is now under investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division for possible misuse of government money, misconduct in office and improper destruction of evidence. Prosecutors said as many as 275 drugs cases could be jeopardized depending on what the SLED investigation finds.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week, it's not individual cops, but entire drug squads gone bad, and, of course, the requisite drug-smuggling prison guard. Let's get to it:

In New Haven, Connecticut, two former members of New Haven's disbanded drug squad pleaded guilty in federal court last Friday to civil rights violations for a 2006 drug raid where they planted drugs in a man's room. Detective Jose Silva faces up to a year in prison for his plea to a misdemeanor civil rights count, while former Detective Justen Kasperzyk faces 18 to 24 months in prison after pleading to one felony civil rights count and one misdemeanor charge of theft of government funds. The theft charge was in relation to a separate drug raid where Kasperzyk pocketed $1,000 in seized funds, then gave half to Silva. This is only the latest act in a long-running corruption probe that resulted in the New Haven drug squad being disbanded a few months ago, and there is more to come. US Attorney Kevin O'Connor said outside the courthouse that the investigation was "active" and "ongoing."

In Chicago, the Chicago Police Department will disband its elite drug and gangs unit in the face of repeated scandals and ongoing state and federal investigations into misconduct ranging from armed violence and home invasions to kidnapping and plotting a murder for hire. At least seven members of the Special Operations Section have been charged with belonging to a rogue band of officers who shook down and intimidated citizens. Three members of the unit were stripped of their badges last month after videotape of a raid on a bar showed that they lied when they reported arresting a man for cocaine possession outside the bar. Police said they arrested the man for drinking in the street, then found cocaine when they searched him. But video from the bar showed more than two dozen SOS members raiding the bar and searching everyone inside. The video also showed them arresting the man inside the bar. The disbanding of SOS comes as the Chicago Police Department is awash in scandals, ranging from the videotaped beating of a female bartender by a drunk Chicago cop to recent revelations about police torture of black suspects in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Aiken, South Carolina, the Aiken County Sheriff's Department drug squad has been fired. Lt. Jonathon Owenby, 30, of Aiken; and investigators James Crowell, 33, of North Augusta; Tim Roberts, 29, of Aiken; and Luke Williamson, 34, of North Augusta are all out of a job and facing criminal investigations after Sheriff Michael Hunt fired them on October 2. Hunt said they got the axe for using unmarked, county-owned cars to go bar-hopping last month. According to Hunt, at least one woman performed a sex act on the officers as they rode around. He has asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate whether the officers misused government money, improperly destroyed evidence or committed other misconduct.

In Acadia Parish, Louisiana, a parish jail guard was arrested Sunday for smuggling drugs into the jail. John Herbert, 51, is charged with the intent to distribute marijuana. An inmate and his relative also got nailed in the scheme.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Scheming cops, greedy cops, rogue cops ripping off dealers, and, of course, yet another jail guard falls prey to temptation. Let's get to it:

In Zanesville, Ohio, two Zanesville police officers and a Zanesville hospital police officer were arrested Monday for allegedly extorting one drug dealer and plotting to rip off another one. Officer Sean Beck, 28, the alleged ringleader, Officer Trevor Fusner, 30, and hospital police officer Chad Mills, 29, all face federal charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Beck had extorted $7,300 from one drug dealer in exchange for his help ripping off another one and enlisted the other two to help him out. But that rip-off never occurred because Beck got greedy, hit his extorted drug dealer for another $1,000, and the dealer then snitched him out.

In Detroit, a Detroit police officer was indicted last week for stealing six kilograms of cocaine from a department evidence room. Officer Vincent Crockett, 39, is charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute and stealing government property. The cocaine went missing in March, and Detroit narcotics officers eventually enlisted the FBI in the investigation. If convicted, Crockett could face up to life in prison and a $4 million fine.

In Chicago, a former Chicago police officer was sentenced Tuesday to six years in prison for shaking down drug dealers with other corrupt officers. Former officer Erik Johnson faced up to 11 years, but got a break at sentencing because he helped investigate the leaders of the rogue cops, then-Officers Broderick Jones and Corey Flagg. His testimony also helped to convict Eural Black, Johnson's former partner and the only officer among the five charged to go to trial. The others have all pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

In Largo, Florida, a jail guard was arrested Tuesday on charges he sold drugs to inmates. Kevin Rix, 24, who has been a corrections officer since 2005, worked at the Largo Road Prison, where a three-month undercover investigation found that Rix provided drugs to inmates in exchange for cash, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He is charged with unlawful compensation, introducing contraband into a prison system, and trafficking in cocaine. He was last reported to be on the other side of the bars at the Pinellas County Jail.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Cops planting drugs, cops stealing drugs, cops stealing and doing drugs, cops stealing drugs and money -- just another week of drug prohibition-related corruption. Let's get to it:

In Milwaukee, an apparent rogue cop is accused of beating or planting drugs -- or both -- on at least 10 people, but has so far gone unpunished by the Milwaukee Police Department, even though the courts have taken note of the repeated allegations by people he has arrested. Sgt. Jason Mucha has been repeatedly cleared by the department's internal affairs unit, but at least four Wisconsin judges have acted on accusations against Mucha by defendants he arrested, in one case allowing others with similar allegations to testify and in another stating there was no reason Mucha should be considered more reliable than the defendant. In at least four cases involving the allegations, charges have been reduced or dismissed, but the Milwaukee Police Department promoted him nonetheless, leading to a rising outcry for reforms within the department and for a definitive investigation of the allegations against the one-time member of the "Night Train," a Milwaukee police unit routinely accused of excess and brutality by residents of the poor and minority neighborhoods in which it operated.

In Baltimore, a Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer was indicted along with her boyfriend on September 21 on charges they dealt crack cocaine from the Curtis Bay home they shared. Officer Angela Green, 25, and her boyfriend were both charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The indictment comes three weeks after county police raided the home, finding 29 grams of crack in two safes. Green, who has three years with the Transportation Authority Police, is now suspended without pay pending trial.

In Dearborn Heights, Michigan, a now-former Dearborn police officer has been charged with using a controlled substance. Former officer Edward Sanchez, 30, admitted taking marijuana from suspects and baking it into brownies, which he shared with his wife, who was also charged. He achieved internet infamy last year when a tape of a 911 emergency call he made after eating the brownies began circulating. In it, Sanchez could be heard saying: "I think we're dying. We made brownies and I think we're dead, I really do." The city of Dearborn declined to prosecute, but neighboring Dearborn Heights decided to go after the couple earlier this month. They face up to 90 days in jail.

In South Bend, Indiana, a former South Bend police officer has pleaded guilty in a case where he stole drugs and money during a traffic stop. Former officer Haven Freeman, 31, pleaded to one count of using his official position to unlawfully demand property from a person and also to possession of heroin with intent to distribute. Freeman admitted in court that he stopped a vehicle in the summer of 2005 knowing that it was carrying drugs because of information from an informant. He told the vehicle's occupants that if they gave him their drugs and money, he would not arrest them or separate one of them from her child. He obtained several thousand dollars in cash and about 100 grams of heroin, which he turned over to his informant for resale. Now, Freeman faces up to 40 years in prison, but has been promised a more lenient sentence because he "accepted responsibility" with his guilty plea.

Latin America: Rio Cops Rounded Up in Drug Corruption Probe

Brazilian police arrested 52 of their own this week on suspicion of involvement with drug trafficking in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The officers, all from a district on the city's outskirts, stand accused of taking money from drug bosses to warn them of impending raids.

They face charges including drugs and arms trafficking, extortion, and conspiracy for allegedly accepting between $1,000 and $2,000 a week to warn traffickers about forthcoming police operations in the city's teeming favelas (shantytowns), where the so-called "drug commands" vie for control with the forces of the Brazilian state.

The drug commands and Brazilian police have engaged in numerous armed confrontations in the past few years, including command-led uprisings that led to dozens of deaths, as well as chaos on the streets of Rio.

Brazilian police are often accused of corruption and brutality. In June, 19 people were killed in police raids in one favela, leading to renewed complaints of excessive force and human rights violations.

The mass round-up of corrupt cops is the second one in 10 months. Last December, 75 Rio police were arrested on similar charges. This week's arrests will not be the last.

"Unfortunately, we have policemen involved with crime," Rio de Janeiro state security chief José Beltrame told reporters. "This work is not over and will continue."

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Not just your usual weekly batch of law enforcement miscreants, although we do have the mandatory crooked jail guard or two. Let's get to it in chronological order this week:

In Galveston, Texas, a Port of Galveston police officer was arrested September 12 for financing the drug habits of prostitutes and driving them to crack houses to score. Officer James Roland Chapman, 53, now faces three prostitution counts. He faces up to two years in jail and the loss of his peace officer's license if convicted.

In Gunnison, Utah, a Sanpete County sheriff's deputy was arrested September 12 for stealing drugs from the evidence room for his own use. Deputy John Earl Stevens, 28, has allegedly admitted to using cocaine and methamphetamine. The admissions came after a search of his home found a meth pipe, burned tinfoil used in smoking it, and several "empty sealed evidence bags." Stevens is a drug dog handler and was assigned to a central Utah drug task force. He also allegedly admitted stealing drug samples used to train drug dogs. He is now charged with suspicion of drug possession and evidence tampering. He is on administrative leave and out on $1,500 bail.

In Slidell, Louisiana, a former Slidell police officer turned himself in on drug charges September 13 after evading authorities for a day. Former officer Alan Roy, 42, is charged with possession with intent to distribute Schedule III narcotics, possession of Schedule II narcotics, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Authorities said a mid-August work incident aroused suspicions about Roy, leading to an August 20 search of his house that turned up 10 ampules and 170 tablets of anabolic steroids, more than half a gram of methamphetamine, and more than 100 hypodermic syringes. Roy resigned from the force four days later. He had agreed to turn himself in on September 12, but failed to show up until the following day. He faces up to five years in prison.

In Worthington, Kentucky, a Worthington police officer was arrested September 13 on drug trafficking charges. Sgt. Thomas Bradley was arrested by agents of the Fivco Area Drug Enforcement Task Force and was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance. He was last reported being held at the Greenup County Detention Center on $15,000 bail.

In Eddyville, Kentucky, a state prison guard was arrested September 14 for smuggling drugs to inmates. Kentucky State Penitentiary guard Timothy Short, 29, went down after co-workers said they saw him give marijuana to a prisoner. He was arrested by state troopers and is charged with bribery of a public servant, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, and promoting contraband.

In Schenectady, New York, a former Schenectady police officer was sent to prison for stealing and selling drugs from the department evidence room. At his September 15 sentencing, former officer Jeffrey Curtis got four years for drug possession, one-to-three for tampering with evidence, and one year probation. Curtis pleaded guilty and admitted stealing and selling drugs, but said he had been stressed out and should have been the target of an intervention, not an investigation.

In Toledo, Ohio, a guard was arrested September 16 for sneaking drugs into the Lucas County jail. Lucas County corrections officer Edward Drane, 43, went down after jail officials used an inmate to set him up. No word yet on charges or what drugs were involved.

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