This feature has been on hiatus for the last couple of weeks, but that's not because all the crooked cops have suddenly gone straight. Making up for lost time, this week we note a pair of crack-slinging officers, but the prize goes to an FBI analyst who was helping out the wrong people.
First, the Rock Hill Herald reported on the March 2 arrest of South Carolina corrections officer Terrill Ambrose Banks for trafficking crack. Banks, whose day job was at the Catawba County Pre-Release Center, spent at least one night selling rocks to some folks who turned out to be the York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit. They busted him for selling 13.8 grams of the stuff and seized another six grams, $275 in cash and his $1,200 car. Clearly not a drug kingpin, Banks nonetheless deserves a mention.
Apparently a little further up the corruption food chain was Polk County, Florida, sheriff's deputy Roderick Myron Stevenson, 37, who was indicted on federal crack conspiracy charges in Gainesville on February 26. According to Orlando's WFTV 9, Stevenson was one of 39 people arrested after a joint investigation by the DEA and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. He faces charges involving more than 50 grams of crack cocaine, which carry mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years in federal prison.
But this week's winner is FBI legal technician Narissa Smalls, sent to federal prison for 12 months for turning over sensitive FBI files to acquaintances who were the subjects of federal drug investigations. The news came in a February 26 Justice Department announcement. Smalls was assigned to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Unit in FBI Headquarters, and her duties included searching Automated Case System (ACS) files in response to FOIA requests.
But Smalls, a Washington, DC, resident, used her access to conduct searches of the ACS to funnel information to drug investigation targets, she admitted as part of a plea bargain agreement. She told the court that between September and November 2002, she did unauthorized searches of the files, printed out the results, and took them home. She also admitted sharing the results of those searches with people she knew were under FBI investigation, and agreed to resign from the FBI.
It is unclear whether Smalls was corrupted by the allure of cash or the tug of personal loyalties. Some drug war opponents may even appreciate what she did. But from the law enforcement standpoint, it is clear that she was corrupted.
The examples of corruption are relatively small-scale this week. But the temptations the war on drugs presents law enforcement are just as corrosive at the retail level as they are at the wholesale.