Three cases of crooked cops in Florida this week, and a pair of asset forfeiture abuse situations in St. Louis and Muncie, Indiana. Let's get to it:
In Altamonte Springs, Florida, an Altamonte Springs police officer and his wife were arrested Monday night on federal drug and weapons charges. Officer Clay Adams, a nine-year veteran and former member of the department's drug task force, was arrested by DEA and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents when he went to work Monday night. Adams and his wife are accused of operating a marijuana grow house that supplied pot to distributors in Tallahassee, as well as dealing in illicit prescription drugs. Adams is also accused of possessing weapons and explosives. The pair went down after a person Adams recruited to work in the operation turned out to be a snitch. Adams and his wife were jailed pending a hearing today.
In Miami, five Miami-Dade County jail guards were arrested last Friday after being indicted by a federal grand jury for smuggling drugs into the facility. They went down thanks to an FBI undercover operation in which an agent posed as a drug dealer and sold them heroin and cocaine for resale behind bars. A jail kitchen employee and several inmates were also charged. The guards face a maximum 20-year sentence on each charge and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
In Miami, two Miami-Dade police officers were arrested July 17 during a joint state-federal raid on a cocaine and gambling ring. Officer Michael Anthony King, 42, faces state charges of illegal gambling and federal charges of aiding and abetting the distribution of powder and crack cocaine. King is a 19-year veteran officer. Officer Antonio Roberts, a 27-year veteran of the force, faces similar charges. They were among 36 people arrested in the raid, including former Dade County corrections officer Marvin "Cone Head" Coney, who is accused of being a cocaine distributor. King and Roberts allegedly used their positions as police officers to help Cone Head and others avoid arrest. If convicted, they face sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison.
In St. Louis, the St. Louis Police Department has been using seized cars, including those seized in drug busts, to keep the chief's daughter in new vehicles, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It wasn't just Aimie Mokwa, the daughter of Chief Joe Mokwa, who benefited from the sweetheart deal between the department and St. Louis Metropolitan Towing, which handles seized vehicles for the city. Police officers also received similar perks, such as free use of seized vehicles and the opportunity to buy them for deeply reduced prices. Now, Chief Mokwa has stopped the practice, but many questions remain. The Post-Dispatch story goes into all the tawdry details.
In Muncie, Indiana, abuses in the way the Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force and the county prosecutor handled local drug asset forfeiture cases are prompting new, tighter rules. Under a draft of the new rules written by a Delaware Circuit Court 2 Judge Richard Dailey, criminal cases will actually have to be disposed of before any civil forfeiture action can begin, and an independent attorney -- not the county prosecutor -- will handle those cases. Current County Prosecutor Mark McKinney received almost $100,000 in attorney's fees over the past decade for handling forfeiture cases. The prosecutor and the drug task force made confidential agreements to divvy up the booty, using much of it to fund further task force operations, as well as buying equipment for police gyms and carpeting the prosecutor's office, a violation of Indiana state law. That law says proceeds from drug forfeitures should be placed in local government general funds and common school funds after law enforcement costs have been paid.