Election or no, the dirty business of corruptly profiting from prohibition goes on. Of course, drug war-related law enforcement corruption is by no means limited to the United States, and this week we break with tradition to include a particularly egregious case from Great Britain. But first, the home boys:
In Alabama, the former head of the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force has pleaded guilty to extortion, misappropriating funds, and lying to the FBI about his misdeeds. David Lynn Scogin, 44, of Florence, plea bargained his way down from a 10-count indictment issued in July, the Birmingham News reported. According to charging documents, Scogin used his position to extort $5,000 from one person in April 2002 by threatening him with arrest if he didn't give the money to the task force. And while Scogin didn't personally pocket the money, he was using task force funds as a personal bank account, the indictment charged. He faces sentencing December 16.
In Dallas, the infamous sheetrock scandal, where police and prosecutors sent dozens of men to prison for possession of methamphetamine and cocaine that turned out to be sheetrock, Senior Corporal David Larsen, a 26-year veteran of the force, was charged Monday with two counts of felony evidence tampering. He is accused of signing informant payment forms he knew were false. Informants had claimed they had not received payments recorded for their help in bringing drug cases, and an investigation has uncovered anomalies and apparent forgeries on the documents. Larsen is accused of falsely attesting that he witnessed two payments made to informant Robert Santos. Santos was an informant for officer Mark Delapaz, the Dallas cop at the center of the scandal. Delapaz also signed forms indicating he made those payments.
And now to England, where one officer's hypocrisy and corruption have risen to a level worthy of note on this side of the pond. Greater Manchester Police Constable Andrew Jackson was in court twice in October on charges of offering to supply marijuana, warning a suspect that police were planning to raid him, trafficking in amphetamines, and aiding and abetting another in amphetamine trafficking, according to reports in the Scotsman newspaper and on BBC News.
There is nothing spectacular about Jackson's charges, but what makes his case noteworthy is that he was the Manchester police officer who took it upon himself to raid the Dutch Experience, the first "coffee house"-style marijuana dispensary in the United Kingdom (http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/203/withinminutes.shtml).
According to Hugh Robertson of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance (http://www.lca-uk.org), Jackson "personally made sure the Experience was hassled enough that it was closed down." It was Jackson's personal crusade, wrote Robertson. "No one else in the Manchester police was interested. The local beat cop and the drug squad left the café alone, as they had better things to do -- but it is now obvious Jackson wanted to get rid of the competition."