Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story 2/20/04

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Competition remains fierce as drug war corruption goes banal. One dishonorable mention goes this week to former Hazard, Kentucky, police officer Calvin Sizemore. In charge of the department's evidence room, he staged fake drug burns and instead peddled seized marijuana and Oxycontin. He got 32 months from a federal judge on February 13. Another runner-up is Denver police officer Damon Finley, charged the same day with taking a $10,000 bribe from a crack seller to destroy evidence. Finley took the money but didn't destroy the crack, the aggrieved seller complained, and now Finley is looking at serious time.

But this week's winner comes from Kansas, where former Trego County Sheriff Curtis Bender was indicted February 10 on federal cocaine distribution charges. Bender became the former sheriff in April, when he was first arrested on state charges by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, who had been tipped that Bender and a pair of associates were trying to move some cocaine.

Located in the vast flatness of western Kansas, Trego County, whose largest town is WaKeeney (pop. 1,924), is not known for its cocaine habit. But it does sit astride Interstate 70, which like all the nation's great traffic arteries, is, in DEA-speak, "a narcotics trafficking corridor." And there is where Sheriff Bender met temptation.

The cocaine in question, more than one pound, had been discovered in a seized car being readied for a sheriff's auction, and was turned over to Bender for safe-keeping. Instead, according to the federal indictment, the cash-hungry cop saw a chance to turn a profit. Now he faces two counts of cocaine distribution, one count of possession with intent to distribute, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and, for good measure, one count of possessing a handgun in the furtherance of drug trafficking.

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Issue #325, 2/20/04 Editorial: Long in the Making | ACLU, Drug Reform Groups Sue over Federal Ban on Public Transit Drug Reform Ads | Utah Asset Forfeiture Reform Law Under Attack | As Continental Harm Reduction Movement Hits Bump, Brazil House Passes Drug Possession Depenalization Bill | Oakland "Regulate and Tax" Marijuana Legalization Initiative Getting Underway -- Poll Says Public Support Strong | Action Alert: HEA Campaign Entering New Stage -- Your Letters and Phone Calls Needed! | Newsbrief: DEA Moving to Restrict Vicodin | Newsbrief: Canadian Government Reintroduces Marijuana Decriminalization Bill | Newsbrief: Methadone Maintenance Doctors Under Attack in Britain | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Drug War First -- Florida Town Offers Used Car Drug Inspections | This Week in History | Psilocybin Cancer Research Study Seeking Participants | Asian Harm Reduction Network Launches Online Resource Collection | Offer and Appeal: New Ink Stamps and Strobe Lights -- DRCNet Needs Your Support in 2004 | The Reformer's Calendar

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