The Dallas sheetrock scandal continue to reverberate, drug cops in Florida and Ohio sample the wares, so does a crime lab tech in Missouri, and two more entrepreneurial jailers go down for their efforts.
Although several of this week's stories feature law enforcement personnel using illegal drugs, it is not their drug use that qualifies them for this feature, but acts of illegality or corruption associated with it. We're not going to write about the cop who gets caught smoking a joint or even a crack pipe -- unless he's stealing it from somebody or otherwise behaving corruptly. That said, let's get to it:
In Dallas, the sheetrock scandal, in which paid police informants planted fake drugs on innocent people, continues to reverberate. A draft audit of procedural reforms of the department's undercover operations obtained last week by the Dallas Morning News said that the department sill suffers from lax oversight of its undercover agents and informers. Safeguards for money-handling in undercover operations continue to be inadequate as well, the draft said. Meanwhile, former Dallas narcs Mark De La Paz and Eddie Herrera, the undercover team at the center of the scandal that sent dozens of innocent men, mostly Mexican immigrants, to prison on bogus charges, were indicted August 5 on perjury charges. De La Paz is already facing five years in prison for lying to a judge in the scandal and still faces more than a dozen other charges. Herrara is charged with lying to a grand jury. He told the panel he witnessed a drug deal that never occurred.
In Daytona Beach, Florida, city police narcotics Detective Jude David Otero resigned Monday as he was being investigating for buying crack while off duty, the Orlando Sun-Sentinel reported. According to documents from the ongoing investigation by the state Office of Professional Standards, not only did Otero buy crack, he also had a woman procure it for him repeatedly. One man interviewed by investigators said Otero repeatedly searched his house and seized drugs, but never made any arrests. The eight-year veteran narc had earlier been the subject of complaints of excessive force during an arrest, stealing money during a drug arrest, and planting drug paraphernalia on a suspect, but those complaints were "unfounded," the department previously determined.
In Batavia, Ohio, Warren County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Moore, 35, pled guilty to probation violation August 4 after being caught in possession of a crack pipe, the Dayton Daily News reported. Moore, who had worked as a school resource officer and had special training in street drugs, pled guilty to drug possession and theft in office charges last year. Those charges came after Hamilton County police found evidence of a meth lab in a vehicle driven by a Kentucky man, Frederick Purcell. He told police Moore gave him a meth mask and a handcuff key, and that he had just left Moore after selling him some speed. He also informed authorities that Moore gave him access to a locked facility where he and Moore could cook and use meth. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Purcell ended up with a five-year probationary sentence in return for his testimony against Moore and for agreeing to help make a police training video about meth labs. Moore served 88 days in jail the first time around; this time he got 180 days, but has already served 110.
In Springfield, Missouri, former Missouri State Highway Patrol crime lab technician Matthew Barb, 31, pleaded guilty August 5 to stealing confiscated drugs, the Associated Press reported. As the person responsible for testing about one-third of suspected drugs seized from southwest Missouri, Barb's thefts forced prosecutors in two counties to dismiss some 380 drug cases. While Barb faces up to seven years in prison, under the plea agreement prosecutors will recommend a five-year sentence. Barb was apparently stealing the dope for his own use, and his defense attorney, Dee Wampler, told the AP he had already undergone drug treatment and counseling and has submitted monthly urine tests. Wampler will ask for probation for her client, she said.
In Brooksville, Florida, Hernando County Jail employee Shanetra Lata McCollom, 31, was arrested August 6 on charges she sold crack cocaine to undercover agents on July 29, July 31, and the day of her arrest, the St. Petersburg Times reported. After the third buy, a search warrant was issued and police found more drugs, drug paraphernalia, and cash at her home. There is no indication McCollom was selling drugs inside the jail, which is operated by Corrections Corporation of America.
In Albuquerque, Metropolitan Detention Center corrections officer Michael Pino was arrested Monday on charges he was trafficking drugs into the jail, the Associated Press reported. Pino was the subject of a sting; he was recorded on audiotape accepting $3,000 to smuggle up to 10 grams of heroin into the jail. Pino, a prison guard for two years, was jailed on $40,000 bail Monday night, and he's been placed on administrative leave.