Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story 10/1/04

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Is it a full moon or what? Drug-related law enforcement corruption cases were reported at epidemic levels this week, with offenses ranging from the trivial to the murderous. In rank order from least to most heinous, this week's winners include:

  • Floyd County, Kentucky, prison guard Allen Ray Jr. was fired this week and charged with smuggling methamphetamines to a jail inmate in packs of cigarettes. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, jail authorities were investigating Ray for cigarette smuggling when an inmate overdosed on meth, and other inmates pointed the finger at inmate Keith Woods, the man to whom Ray was giving cigarette packs. Ray has admitted delivering cigarettes threw times to Woods, but claims he did not know the packs contained the drug. At this point, Ray is charged only with misdemeanor "trafficking with an inmate" for the cigarette smuggling. He faces up to one year in jail. He is out on bail awaiting a November 12 pretrial conference.
  • Mississippi Department of Correction probation officer Kathy McDougle, 33, was indicted by a federal grand jury September 22 on federal drug and conspiracy charges, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported. She was arrested two days later. The indictment charges McDouble with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, three counts of using a communications device to commit conspiracy, and one count of extortion. The indictment alleges that McDouble passed along information she gained as a probation officer to a member of a local drug trafficking organization, who in turn passed it on to a cocaine supplier. The precise nature of that information is unclear. McDougle is also charged with overlooking probation violations for a fee and for helping a parolee with his illegal drug business. She is out on bond awaiting a December 6 trial date.
  • Former Houston police officer Gilberto Zertuche, 43, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to providing protection for drug dealers while in uniform. The 18-year veteran of the Houston Police Department was arrested in February as he stood watch over a dope deal where a kilo of cocaine and a hundred pounds of pot changed hands, the Houston Chronicle reported. Zertuche was not a buyer or seller, but helped facilitate the transaction by weighing drugs and counting money, as well as by his armed, uniformed presence. He was paid $5,000 for his efforts. Now he gets 20 years.
  • New York City police detective Luis Nieves-Diaz was fired August 27 after being found guilty in a departmental trial of having ripped off drug couriers in the mid-1990s. His firing is the latest reverberation from a broader departmental scandal that has already sent two former NYPD officers to prison (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/316/thisweek.shtml). Nieves-Diaz went down for helping former NYPD officer Julio Vasquez do a strong-arm robbery on a drug courier in 1995. Nieves-Diaz pocketed $65-70,000 for his part in the theft, the New York Times reported. He is not charged with a crime because the statute of limitation has run out, but being fired will cost him a pension worth about one million dollars over the next 20 years.
  • Four Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are on the hot seat not for old-fashioned financial corruption, but for morally corrupt practices surrounding their supervision of an informant known only as "Lalo," according to an ongoing investigation by the Dallas Morning News. This is a case we have noted before (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/347/many.shtml), but the sheer ugliness of the new revelations is worth noting. "Lalo," a key henchman in the Juarez cartel, played a central role in the murders of at least 12 people, including at least one US citizen, by the cartel even as he was being "supervised" by his ICE handlers. In a September 21 story, the Morning News cited an internal ICE document written by agency investigators looking into the mess. ICE had formerly described "Lalo" as a witness to the murders, but the new document makes clear that he played a key role, dispensing advice about the means of murder, hiring grave diggers, and informing his bosses in the cartel, and sometimes in ICE, when the dirty deeds had been done. And on the ICE payroll the whole time. Sweet.

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Issue #356, 10/1/04 DRCNet Interview: Artist, Activist, Former Rockefeller Drug Law Prisoner Anthony Papa | Hemp for Victory? No, Victory for Hemp: DEA Gives Up on Hemp Food Ban | Alaska Marijuana Regulation Initiative is On | On Capitol Hill, Pain Treatment Advocates Call on Congress to Help Patients, Restrain DEA | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative Winning Two-To-One in Poll | Newsbrief: No Nevada Marijuana Initiative This Year -- Backers Start 2006 Effort | Newsbrief: Support for Marijuana Ticketing Scheme Blows Through Windy City | Newsbrief: Protestors March in Montgomery to Support Nonviolent Prisoners | Newsbrief: New Indictments in Dallas Sheetrock Scandal | Newsbrief: New Zealand Greens Call for Uniform Drug Policy | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar
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