Who says those anti-drug task forces aren't good for anything? Just ask former Kokomo, Indiana, police officer Michael Holsapple, the long-time head of the Howard County Drug Task Force. He was able to use the task force drug buy slush fund as his own personal bank account. At least that's what Howard County Prosecutor James Fleming alleged as he charged Holsapple with six felony counts related to the theft of nearly $4,000 in task force funds. He is looking at a possible 43-year prison sentence.
Holsapple has admitted to forging the signatures of fellow drug squad officers on phony vouchers for cash payments for drug buys. As head of the task force, Holsapple was responsible for doling out the drug cash, and in a taped statement given to the Indiana State Police, he said he signed other officers' names and pocketed the cash. He used the money for personal expenses, he said, and planned to pay it back, authorities said.
In anticipation of an annual audit, Holsapple discovered the account was short by $4,999 and forged officers' names on receipts to cover the loss, according to his statement.
The first hint of a problem for the 25-year veteran of the Kokomo department came with his sudden retirement in February, according to reports in the Kokomo Tribune. The day he quit, his family reported him missing after he handed out money to various relatives and appeared suicidal. He was found dazed and near death in freezing temperatures a mile into the woods in neighboring Brown County. After a short stay in the Methodist Hospital emergency room, he was transferred to the Indianapolis hospital's Behavioral Health ward.
On the day he quit, Holsapple knew that an audit of the account was coming due, and it was $4,999 short, he said.
Holsapple had been one of the public spokesmen for the Howard Country Drug Task Force, appearing in local papers periodically to warn of the dangers of Oxycontin or methamphetamine. He and his task force also gained notoriety for winning a conviction against local businessman Jeff Collins for "stalking" and "intimidating" task force members by following them around and documenting their activities. Collins is currently serving a four-year sentence for inconveniencing the narcs, a rather nasty conclusion to a squabble that began over gambling machines owned by Collins' company.
According to Collins, who spoke with Kokomo Perspective, Holsapple wasn't a very nice guy. "The first thing Mike Horse-Apple (Collins' name for Holsapple) ever said to me when I first walked in during the raid," said Collins, was, "He pointed his finger in my chest and said, 'I'm going to take your money, your house, your cars and your business, and I'm going to put you in jail for a very long time.'"
And now maybe he will join him. A first hearing is scheduled for April 14. Holsapple is free on $1,000 cash bond. We wonder how many drug offenders he arrested on multi-decade charges got $1,000 cash bonds.