Police Corruption

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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.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Another week's worth of law enforcement officers done in by the temptations created by drug prohibition, including a sheriff headed for prison for turning a blind eye, a prosecutor whose coke habit got him in trouble, a greedy Boston cop, and a pair of pill-peddling policemen. Let's get to it:

In Richmond, Virginia, former Henry County Sheriff Frank Cassell was sentenced to eight months in federal prison Tuesday for covering up widespread corruption in his rural department. Twelve Henry County sheriff's deputies were among 20 people indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they resold seized drugs, including ketamine, steroids, cocaine and marijuana, as well as guns, and engaged in money laundering. Cassell was not accused of participating in the corrupt activities, but of covering up for his deputies. He pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents investigating the case. Seventeen of the 20 arrested have now pleaded guilty, two are in diversion programs, and one faces trial next month.

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, a former Pottawattamie County prosecutor has been convicted of stealing drugs from the evidence room. After cocaine went missing, former Assistant DA Jeff TeKippe argued that he had lawfully flushed it down a toilet, but prosecutors presented evidence of cocaine residues found at TeKippe's house. Jurors convicted him on nine counts of theft, two counts of misconduct in office, and one count of cocaine possession. He faces 10 years or more in prison when he is sentenced October 24.

In Boston, a former Boston police officer pleaded guilty Monday to charges he hired himself out as protection for drug dealers. Former Officer Carlos Pizarro is one of three Boston cops caught in an FBI sting where agents posed as drug traffickers making cocaine shipments to Massachusetts. The feds had him celebrating a supposed successful run on videotape. He pleaded to two counts, including conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, and faces up to 24 years in federal prison. Officers Robert Pulido and Nelson Carraquillo, who were arrested along with Pizarro, face trials in November.

In Cleveland, Ohio, a former Parma police officer was sentenced September 5 to three years in prison for peddling prescription drugs. Donald McNea, Jr., 54, was arrested in December 2005 by state and federal agents after repeatedly selling Oxycontin and other drugs to an informant and a federal agent. He had been at it since at least 2003, before he retired on disability with a $63,000 a year pension. McNea and his lawyers blamed his drug dealing on a mind fogged by addiction caused by the physical and psychological pain he suffered fighting crime, but his former colleagues painted a picture of a cop with a long history of disciplinary problems. In addition to three years in prison, McNea must pay $27,000 in fines and repay the city $2,000 he got from undercover agents in return for drugs.

In Clarksville, Tennessee, a Clarksville police officer already on paid leave as he faces drug peddling charges is in trouble again. Officer Franklin Mikel was charged in April with three felony drug counts after Indiana State Police arrested him April 4 after he allegedly sold 30 morphine tablets to an informant. Mikel was arrested again Monday morning for driving while intoxicated, public intoxication, and two counts of invasion of privacy after he violated a restraining order taken out against him by his estranged wife. Prosecutors may now ask that his cash bond be revoked pending trial later this year on the drug charges.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Busy, busy, busy. Take a week off, and look what happens: Cops peddling pills, guards stealing pills, cops shaking down housing project residents, jail guards smuggling drugs, a DEA agent giving information to suspected mobsters, and more. Let's get to it:

In Cleveland, Ohio, a Cleveland police officer was arrested August 25 for his role in a cocaine distribution ring. Officer Zvonko Sarlog, a six-year veteran now faces a federal indictment for conspiracy to distribute cocaine along with six other people, none of them police officers. The arrests came after a nine-month investigation by the Cleveland police internal affairs unit, which eventually called in the FBI. Sarlog is accused of having a relative in Mexico smuggle cocaine into the country for sale in the Cleveland area.

In Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, 10 police officers have been arrested on charges they planted drugs as evidence against poor islanders. The Puerto Rican Civil Rights Commission is planning hearings into allegations these arrests are only the tip of the iceberg. Eight officers were arrested August 23, and raiding FBI agents found a safe containing drugs held in reserve to plant on people. Two more officers turned themselves in days later. They are accused of using marijuana, cocaine and heroin to frame residents of housing projects between 2004 and 2007. They also made up elaborate details on arrest and search warrants, according to police. If convicted, they face 10 years to life in prison.

In Detroit a Flat Rock police officer was among five people indicted August 29 on federal prescription drug distribution charges. Officer David Dewitt is accused of conspiring with a local physician, Dr. Paul Emerson, and three other people in a ring that allegedly circulated a million pills a year. Dewitt and the other three acted as Emerson's patients, filled the prescriptions he wrote, then allegedly sold them on the black market, according to the indictment. Dewitt, 37, is charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drugs with the intent to distribute several controlled substances and with being an unlawful user of some of the drugs while possessing his department-issued firearm. His status with the department was not known. [Ed: The question has to be asked in cases like this whether the doctors knew what the patients were doing -- often they don't, and such prosecutions are a major cause of the national problem of under-treatment of pain.]

In Gulfport, Mississippi, a jail guard was arrested and fired after being accused of smuggling drugs into the county jail. Harrison County Adult Detention Center guard Laquita Allen now faces up to five years in prison if convicted of introducing contraband into a jail. No word yet on details of the allegations against her. She is free on $25,000 bond.

In Portsmouth, Virginia, the former head of the Portsmouth police drug squad was sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison for participating in a drug distribution conspiracy that prosecutors said brought more than $5 million worth of crack cocaine to the area. Former Lt. Brian Keith Muhammad Abdul-Ali was found guilty of warning his nephew, convicted crack distributor Gregory Elliott, of upcoming raids, thus allowing him to sell 110 pounds or more of crack cocaine in the area between 2001 and last December, when Abdul-Ali and his nephew were arrested. Abdul-Ali faced up to 10 years on drug conspiracy charges, but the judge suspended 5 ½ years.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, a jail guard was arrested August 22 for repeatedly stealing prescription pain medications from prisoners. Western Worcester District Court jail guard Francine Melanson, 46, faces one count of larceny under $250 dollars, even though jail officials have her on videotape stealing pills on several occasions. She came under suspicion when a woman arrested by Leicester police in October 2006 claimed some of her hydrocodone pills were missing. The prescription drug is used for pain management. State police installed a camera in the court's cell area and subsequently caught Melanson in the act. Her lawyer said she is in treatment for a "substance abuse problem." The 11-year veteran guard is on unpaid leave from her $64,000 a year job.

In Boston, a DEA agent admitted in federal court August 23 that he used a government law enforcement computer to help targets in a mob investigation learn whether they were being investigated. The admission from DEA agent Louis Angioletti came as he pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of intentionally accessing a government computer in a manner that exceeded his lawful authority. Angioletti faces up to six months in federal prison. He also agreed to resign from the DEA. Angioletti got caught up in an FBI investigation of a conspiracy by mob-backed trash haulers to drive out the competition. While working at the DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center, Angioletti was approached by an old friend who worked for the mob-connected trash haulers, and he agreed to run the friend's boss's name through the federal Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Information System database. He later reported that the boss's name didn't show up. He will be sentenced November 9.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, a Scranton police officer charged with selling Oxycontin while in uniform pleaded guilty August 28. Officer Mark Conway told the presiding judge he had been addicted to Oxycontin. His attorney made the strange remark that Conway "wasn't a drug dealer… but he distributed." Corruption or addiction? In either case, he was peddling pills while in uniform. He faces up to five years in prison.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More prison guards are in trouble. A Louisiana cop gets busted for pills -- corruption or desperation? Let's get to it:

In Tallahassee, Florida, a Florida Department of Corrections officer was arrested last Friday on drug and other charges. Officer Terrance Ruffen, 31, faces charges of tampering with evidence and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. He was arrested after Gadsden County sheriff's deputies raided a home in Quincy in an investigation of crack cocaine sales there.

In Shreveport, Louisiana, a Shreveport police officer was arrested Tuesday on drug charges. Sgt. Thomas Morgan, a supervisor in the Uniformed Services Division, faces four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Morgan, 39, went down after Shreveport narcotics officers received a complaint a week ago that he was illegally obtaining prescription medications. He is on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation. (Is this corruption, or desperation? Hard to tell without more facts.)

In Elkhart, Indiana, an Elkhart County corrections officer was arrested Monday for taking home drugs seized from a prisoner after a visit. Mario Randle, 35, allegedly searched the inmate after a visit, finding a modified screwdriver containing at least two illegal drugs. Police said Randle did not report the incident, but instead took the items with him when his shift ended. He faces felony counts of drug trafficking and official misconduct and is looking at up to three years in prison. He has been fired.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

One of California's top narcs gets busted for peddling Cialis, another Florida cop goes to prison, and a pair of Florida prison guards gets popped for the usual. Let's get to it:

In Long Beach, California, one of California's top narcs was arrested Saturday for selling prescription erectile dysfunction pills to undercover police. Special Agent Henry Kim, supervisor of the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement anti-gang team in Los Angeles, had advertised Cialis pills for sale on the Craigslist web site. Long Beach undercover officers responded to the ad, agreed to buy 50 pills for $250, and then arrested Kim when he met them to do the deal Saturday morning. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. But by Tuesday, prosecutors had downgraded the charges to four misdemeanor counts: dispensing drugs without a license, prescribing a controlled substance, unlawfully prescribing dangerous drugs without a prescribing physician, and unlawfully using dangerous drugs without a prescription. Kim has been released on his own recognizance pending trial. He is on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal affairs investigation.

In Hollywood, Florida, a fourth Hollywood police officer has been sent to prison for running drugs for supposed drug traffickers. Former Sgt. Jeffry Courtney was sentenced last Friday to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to heroin trafficking conspiracy charges. He accepted at least $22,000 to guard purported heroin shipments for New York mobsters, but the mobsters turned out to be FBI agents. Courtney is the fourth Hollywood Police Department officer to be sent to prison in the sting, known as Tarnished Bronze. A fifth is set to be sentenced in October for lying to FBI agents about letting word of the sting leak out.

In Naples, Florida, two Florida prison guards were arrested August 8 for arranging to smuggle cocaine to a prisoner. Guards Jawaan Rice, 21, and Modeste Pierre, 18, are charged with cocaine trafficking, smuggling a controlled substance into a correctional facility, and prison employee receiving a bribe. The pair, who were trainees hired in June, went down after prison officials overheard Rice and an inmate conspiring to bring a large quantity of coke into the prison. The prisoner turned informant and arranged a cocaine delivery with Rice and Pierre. An undercover police officer made the delivery and the subsequent arrests. The pair have been fired.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The charges pile up against a pair of former Virginia police chiefs, a Cleveland DEA agent has some explaining to do, and so does a Houston crime lab tech who didn't follow procedures and wouldn't take a drug test. Let's get to it:

In Houston, more than 200 drug cases are in jeopardy after a lab technician is accused of "failing to properly secure drug evidence." It's only the latest scandal for the city's troubled crime lab, which has been under scrutiny for the past five years over faulty DNA testing that sent people to prison, the drug and alcohol testing division being shut down after its director failed a proficiency test, and evidence from thousands of cases being improperly stored in the evidence rooms. In the latest blow, the Houston Police Department announced Tuesday that lab tech James Carpenter had been relieved of duty with pay. Carpenter, who worked in the drug lab since 2002, had been recently warned about missing work, and investigators sought him out last week after receiving reports that he "was not handling evidence in compliance with lab protocols." When Carpenter refused to give a formal statement or submit to a drug test, he was suspended. Now, all his work for the past six months -- some 200 drug cases -- is under review.

In Richmond, Virginia, two former Southwest Virginia police chiefs already facing charges were arrested again last week on new drug charges. Former Damascus Police Chief Anthony Steven Richardson was charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs, obstruction of justice, possession of drugs and possession of firearms. Richardson, 40, already faced seven felony counts from June, including distributing methamphetamine. Former Chilhowie Police chief Dwayne Sheffield was charged with distribution of drugs, child abuse/neglect and conspiracy to distribute drugs. Sheffield, 37, already faced charges from May of committing sex crimes against a 17-year-old girl during a Halloween haunted house that raised money for sexual assault victims. The new charges resulted from an investigation by state, local, and federal law enforcement officials, and officials said the drugs involved were mainly methamphetamine and marijuana. Sheffield's wife, Nancy, was also charged with drug distribution, conspiracy, and child abuse/neglect.

In Cleveland, a DEA agent is under scrutiny after one of his informants admitted sending dozens of people to prison with false testimony. Informant Jerrell Bray told authorities in May he had made up testimony and lied on the witness stand in numerous cases, resulting in the dropping of charges in two cases and the release of one prisoner so far. Many more could come. DEA Agent Lee Lucas, who has a reputation as gung-ho drug fighter, is Bray's handler. The testimony of both Bray and Lucas in numerous drug cases is being challenged. Look for more to come out in coming weeks and months on this one.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week we have a pair from the US-Mexico border, where temptation is always close at hand, and a pair from Florida, where corruption seems to thrive in the steamy atmosphere. Let's get to it:

In El Paso, a Customs and Border Patrol agent was arrested July 27 for allegedly letting more than a ton of marijuana into the country. CBP Officer Margarita Crispin is charged with one count of conspiracy to import a controlled substance. According to the indictment, she conspired with others from 2003 to this year to let truck loads get by border checkpoints. She was jailed awaiting a bond hearing at last report.

In Miami Beach, a city parking enforcement officer was arrested last weekend on drug sales charges. Enforcement Officer Elio Espinosa allegedly sold three bags of drugs to an informant. He is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school.

In Tucson, three former National Guardsmen were sentenced to prison last week for conspiring to run drugs for traffickers. They are only the latest of the more than three dozen current and former police and military personnel ensnared in Operation Lively Green, an FBI sting where agents posed as traffickers and enlisted the help of law enforcement and military personnel to move drug shipments. Demian Castillo, a former recruiter for the Tucson Army National Guard, got two years for accepting $14,000 to run two drug loads in 2002. Former Guard member Sheldon Anderson got 10 months for helping out on a single drug run. Former Guardsman Mario Quintana got two years for helping out on two loads. All three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official.

In Hollywood, Florida, a fifth Hollywood police officer has now pleaded guilty in an FBI sting operation. Former Hollywood Police Lt. Charles Roberts pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement when he told investigators he knew nothing about an undercover FBI sting. The sting, known as Operation Tarnished Badge, targeted Hollywood police officers who were agreeable to transporting heroin for people they believed to be drug dealers but who were actually FBI agents. It was shut down early after word of its existence leaked out. Three officers have been sentenced to prison for their roles in drug transportation conspiracies, and a fourth awaits sentencing this month. Roberts faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in October.

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