Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories 2/4/05

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There must be a bad moon rising out in cop country. There has been a serious outbreak of corruption cases, drug-smuggling prison guards, and cops gone to pot across the country, but it's been particularly bad in Illinois, with three separate Chicago-area cases of classic drug war corruption. Let's get right to it:

  • In Chicago, four police officers at the Englewood District were arrested January 26 on charges they were shaking down drug dealers, the Chicago Tribune reported. The four veteran cops conspired with other drug dealers to steal money, drugs, and guns from their competitors, federal authorities said as they announced a total of nine arrests. There may be more to come. The Tribune Saturday reported that according to police sources, the FBI has widened its investigation to include as many as six more Chicago police officers.
  • In suburban Maywood, Illinois, meanwhile, police officer Arian Wade was one of six men arrested in a scheme to bribe police to ignore drug trafficking operations there, the Associated Press reported. The arrests came in an investigation dubbed Operation Pocket Change, which began last August when a man approached Maywood police about taking bribes to safeguard corners where drugs were sold. Three police officers posed as crooked cops accepted $1,200 a week payments to supposedly ignore drug activity at those locations. It looks like Arian Wade was not posing.
  • And in North Riverside, Illinois, a former Illinois State Police sergeant was sentenced to more than five years in prison for trading guns to gang members to feed a burgeoning crack cocaine habit. Dennis Kalinoski pled guilty a year ago to "possessing firearms while addicted to crack cocaine," the Chicago Tribune reported. Kalinoski went down after selling three semi-automatic pistols to a Black P Stones gang member who happened to be a federal informant. Despite tape-recorded evidence of his transactions, Kalinoski took the stand during sentencing to deny he ever swapped guns for crack. Instead, he contended that he was doing deals to try to find out who had stolen 100 guns from his home. He didn't report the alleged theft, he said, because a female "smokehouse" friend slipped crack into an alcoholic drink she gave, leaving him "totally incapacitated" -- a scarcely believable claim, given the pharmacological properties of cocaine.
  • In Orlando, two Orange County deputies were fired January 27 in what the Orlando Sentinel called "the worst corruption at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in recent years." Deputies Kevin Gomez and Armando Perez were fired almost a year after they were suspended when they were recorded on a wiretap passing on drug enforcement information to their mutual friend and fellow martial artist, Eric Simmons. Simmons was a major dealer in GHB, and the two deputies are accused of providing him warnings about wiretaps, informants' identities, and ongoing drug investigations. Simmons testified about the deputies as part of a plea bargain after he was arrested on drug-trafficking charges in March by the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation. Gomez was fired for abuse of authority, lying, unsatisfactory performance, and failure to cooperate with an internal affairs investigation, while Perez was cut loose for abuse of authority, lying, and associating with a known or suspected criminal. Gomez faces one criminal count of disclosing confidential criminal justice information, while the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office did not charge Perez with any criminal count, despite a recommendation from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that it do so. This may not be the end of it. The report of the investigation that resulted in the firing of Gomez and Perez suggested that there may be more corrupt cops in the department, the Sentinel noted.
Prison guards gone bad:
  • In Wakulla, Florida, prison guard Timothy James Ford was arrested January 28 and charged with attempting to smuggle drugs into a state prison, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Ford, an eight-year Department of Corrections employee, went down after a prisoner informed on him and authorities set up a sting. After listening in on a phone call between the prisoner, his girlfriend and his mother where the trio discussed sending a package to Ford, Florida corrections inspectors followed Ford to the post office and arrested him after he signed for the package. It contained about a half-pound of marijuana in a large Ziplock bag and smaller amounts of powder and crack cocaine in smaller baggies. In an odd note, the Democrat reported that unlike normal sheriff's department procedure, Ford's mug shot and address were not made available "because under Florida law, photos and other personal information about active or former law-enforcement personnel are exempt from release."
Not exactly corrupt, but still worth noting -- Cops gone to pot:
  • In Detroit, city police officer Paul Carmona was arrested January 12 in suburban Allen Park for marijuana possession after he was pulled over for speeding late that night. The five-year veteran has told differing versions of how a brown bag containing an ounce of weed came to be sitting on his pick-up truck's back seat, the Detroit Free Press reported. When arrested he identified himself as a police officer, although he carried no police ID and no drivers' license, and said the pot had been seized as evidence. But last week, Carmona's attorney, S. Allen Early, announced that, no, that wasn't it. Instead, said Carmona, another person has come forward to claim the marijuana. That person has provided Early with a sworn affidavit saying he had borrowed the pick-up and left the bag behind. Carmona is suspended without pay pending resolution of the case. Carmona has a bit of a disciplinary history as well. He was previously suspended for shooting off his police weapon while riding in a van on Interstate 96 in 2003. Another officer in the van was found with a semiautomatic gun reported stolen four years earlier in suburban Sterling Heights.
  • In Barker, New York, a Broome County Sheriff's Department detective pled guilty January 27 to marijuana possession after state police found pot plants growing outside his home in July. The police were there to investigate a domestic dispute, the Associated Press reported. Christopher Smith, 35, received a conditional discharge and a $1,000 fine in town court. Smith had been suspended from the department since his arrest, but continued to receive his $52,000 annual salary. Word came this week that Smith has resigned his post.

-- END --
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Issue #373 -- 2/4/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

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Drug War Chronicle's Phil Smith Featured in New Book -- "Under The Influence" Available as DRCNet Premium | Editorial: DEA Has Stepped In It This Time | "Not Your Father's Marijuana" Canard Again Exposed -- This Time by DEA | Never Say Die: Nevada Marijuana Regulation Initiative is Back After Favorable Federal Court Ruling | DRCNet Interview: Roger Goodman, King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project | Blogging: Mobile, Alabama Police Chief Stuck "Inside the Box" Over City's Rising Drug Trade Violence, and More | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: DEA Pain FAQ Retract Flap Fallout Continues -- Criticism Comes from Unexpected Direction as Agency Seeks Comments | Newsbrief: HEA Repeal Picking Up Steam -- Congressional Advisory Committee, Arizona Legislators Urge Rescinding of Souder's Law | Newsbrief: DEA Must Pay Hemp Industry Plaintiff's Legal Bills, Court Rules | Newsbrief: Indiana Official Calls for National Agency to Provide Drugs to Addicts | Newsbrief: In Swan Song, Ashcroft Calls for Harsher Sentences, Chastizes Foes | Newsbrief: Man Bites Dog! Arkansas Bill to Lower Meth Sentences Moves Forward | Newsbrief: London Top Cop Warns He Will Target Casual Cocaine Users | Newsbrief: Belgian Cannabis Clarification Now in Effect | Newsbrief: Spanish Pharmacies to Begin Selling Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Safe Injection Site Opens in Oslo | Newsbrief: Rastas, Watch Out At Ethiopian Marley Fest, State Department Warns | Newsbrief: India Narcs Set Off Prescription Drug Panic | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar |

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