The allure of cocaine proves too much for a California highway patrolman and a pair of Brooklyn narcs, and a pair of New Jersey cops pay for peddling pills. Let's get to it:
In Santa Ana, California, a California Highway Patrol officer was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing more than a million dollars worth of cocaine from a Highway Patrol evidence room. Officer Joshua Blackburn, 32, a six-year-veteran, is accused of breaking into the evidence room at the patrol's Santa Ana headquarters. Highway Patrol authorities discovered the theft Friday and notified Santa Ana Police, who made the arrest. Blackburn is being held on $4 million bail at the Orange County Jail.
In New York City, a former Newark police officer was sentenced December 20 to 33 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in a scheme where he, another Newark police officer, and a New Jersey doctor conspired to obtain dozens of illegal prescriptions for Oxycontin, fill the prescriptions, then sell the drugs for cash. Former officer Ronald Pompanio, 42, faced up to 87 months, but got a break for cooperating in the investigation and testifying against the doctor. Both Pompanio and former officer John Hernandez pleaded guilty in September 2006 to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, the main ingredient in OxyContin, after admitting that they filled the prescriptions and sold the drugs on the street in northern New Jersey. The doctor, Joan Jaszczult of Bloomfield, has also pleaded guilty and faces up to 10 years in prison. The conspirators admitted to trafficking in a minimum of 250,000 milligrams of oxycodone. [Ed: The question always needs to be asked in cases like this, was the doctor a real conspirator, or was the doctor an unwitting victim about whom the drug sellers made up a story to get time off their sentences? Or whose actions the prosecutors misrepresented? Media outlets often rely on the official line without investigating further, so to really know the story in a case like this it might be necessary to independently examine the facts.]
In New York City, two NYPD officers were arrested on December 19 on charges of misconduct and falsifying records in connection with the disappearance of 11 bags of cocaine. Officers Julio Alvarez and Sean Johnstone of the Brooklyn South narcotics unit arrested a man on September 13 and turned over 17 bags of cocaine as evidence, but Johnstone, who was working undercover with Alvarez, was later recorded saying that Alvarez had actually seized 28 baggies of cocaine. This is the same pair of officers who made these pages last week, when we reported on a brewing scandal at Brooklyn South over the use of racial epithets recorded by transmitters they were wearing. It was those same transmitters that recorded the admission of stealing the 11 bags of cocaine. Unlike most defendants in New York's courts, Alvarez and Johnstone were given the courtesy of appearing in court without handcuffs and were allowed to remain free without bail. [Ed: Why the special treatment? Why not the same courtesy for other defendants?]