Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story 11/15/02

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The Week Online's corrupt cop feature took a brief hiatus last week while your correspondent traveled to Las Vegas and Anaheim, but corrupt cops didn't. On November 5, a Putnam County, GA, sheriff's investigator went down for doctor-shopping to feed his prescription pill habit (this maybe addiction rather than corruption). The next day, four guards at the Washington, DC, Correctional Treatment Facility (run by Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private jailer), were indicted for smuggling drugs, pagers and cash to prisoners. Also last week, three former members of the Cameron County, TX, constable's office were indicted for allegedly trafficking at least a ton of marijuana since 2000.

But this week's winner is the nearby Donna, TX, Police Department, where old habits apparently die hard. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Donna Police Chief Abel Partida and former officer Gerardo Vigil were indicted and arrested on federal drug trafficking and bribery charges. The indictment accuses the two men of taking payoffs to allow vehicles transporting marijuana to proceed unimpeded. Four counts of the indictment accuse Partida and Vigil of taking bribes ranging from $500 to $2200 to provide protection to drug trafficking vehicles, while a fifth count accused them of conspiring to transport 300 pounds of pot in November 2001. If convicted, Partida and Vigil could face 40 years in federal prison and a $2 million fine.

Partida and Vigil were following in some familiar footsteps. Five years ago, the feds arrested and convicted five former Donna police officers, including two police chiefs, of both stealing from and providing assistance to drug dealers. All of those men went to prison. Donna, located 15 miles from the Mexican border, bills itself as "the heart of the Rio Grande Valley," but a better slogan might be: "Where the drug war makes corruption a way of life."

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Issue #263, 11/15/02 The Week Online Needs Your Help! | Massachusetts: Marijuana on the Move? | Anaheim Conference Reinvigorates Battered Reformers -- Hundreds Gather to Examine Defeats, Plot New Strategies | Narco News Interview with Gustavo de Greiff | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cop Story | Newsbrief: FCC Says Anti-Drug Ads Must Identify White House Sponsorship | Newsbrief: San Diego Medical Marijuana Rally to Go Transnational | Newsbrief: Hungry Utah Cops Nibbling at Edges of Asset Forfeiture Reform Law, Lying Through Their Teeth as They Campaign | Newsbrief: Free Speech Battle in Tampa after Leafleting Arrest | Newsbrief: Canada Gives Go-Ahead to Safe Injection Sites, First to Open Early Next Year | Newsbrief: Pain Doctor Hurwitz Raided in Virginia | Newsbrief: Pain Doctor Weitzel Retrial Underway in Utah | Newsbrief: Arkansas Prisons Say Methamphetamine Penalties Should Be Lowered | Newsbrief: Border Patrol Begins Random Stops in Michigan | Web Scan: Washington Office on Latin America, Andean Information Network, Latin America Working Group, Miami Herald, Harry Levine | Harm Reduction Coalition Seeking Articles and Artwork for "The Anonymous Issue" | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision, Tulia, Salvia Divinorum | The Reformer's Calendar

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