Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories 3/3/06

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An Alabama prosecutor's investigator gets involved in a shootout with police over 40 pounds of cocaine, a Border Patrol agent pays for winking a truck-load of dope, two more Border Patrol agents are on trial for shooting a fleeing suspected drug courier, and a New Jersey cop's bad habit gets him in trouble. Just another week on the drug law enforcement corruption front. Let's get to it:

In Birmingham, Alabama, a former Fairfield Police Department captain was among three people charged February 20 after a shootout with police led to the discovery of nearly 40 pounds of cocaine, the Birmingham News reported. Donald Curtis Lundy, who is now employed as an investigator for the Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney's office, was being held without bond on charges of attempted murder and drug trafficking along with the two other men. According to police, at least one of the men fired on officers investigating a drug complaint at an apartment complex. When police searched the apartment, they found the cocaine, along with thousands of dollars in cash, in a nearby pick-up truck. Lundy's attorney told the News Lundy just happened to be visiting the other two men when the shootout went down, didn't know the drugs were there, and didn't fire his gun.

In Laredo, Texas, a senior US Border Patrol agent was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison last week for allowing drug traffickers to move cocaine and marijuana through South Texas checkpoints. Juan Alvarez, 36, had pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to bribe a public official and conspiracy to possess cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute. Prosecutors alleged that Alvarez and his brother, Jose Guadelupe Alvarez, 39, who got 17 ½ years, received more than $1.5 million from traffickers in return for letting 70,000 pounds of pot and an unspecified quantity of cocaine pass unmolested through the Hebronville checkpoint a few miles north of the US-Mexico border.

In El Paso, Texas, US Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean are on trial this week for shooting an unarmed drug smuggler and then trying to cover up the crime. They face nearly a dozen federal charges, including assault with the intent to commit murder and tampering with an official proceeding. Ramos and Compean shot Mexican national Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the back as he attempted to flee back into Mexico after a confrontation with the two agents, but did not report the shooting. A federal indictment charged that Compean "collected and disposed of spent casings" after the shooting. Aldrete, who was accused of driving a van with 700 pounds of marijuana the day of the shooting, has been given immunity and is expected to testify. The case only came to light when a relative of Aldrete told an Arizona Border Patrol, who forwarded the information to the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General.

In New Orleans, former US Customs inspector Wanda Hopkins, 45, was sentenced last week to nearly eight years in prison for selling cocaine and using a weapon while engaged in drug trafficking, the Associated Press reported. Hopkins, her husband, Jerry Hopkins, and Ken Green, have now all received prison sentences in a bust that began in March 2005, when Wanda Hopkins sold a small amount of cocaine to an undercover agent with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Department. A week after that, Hopkins and her husband were pulled over in Jefferson Parish on their way back from Brownsville, Texas, with a half-pound of cocaine.

In Dover, New Jersey, a former Dover Police detective will do three years in state prison for stealing cocaine from the evidence safe, according to the Morris County Daily Record. Detective David Brennan ripped off a "small amount" of cocaine for his personal use, the Superior Court heard. He pleaded guilty to official misconduct for the theft and will seek early parole. Under the state's Intensive Supervision Program, he could be out in as little as two months.

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Issue #425 -- 3/3/06

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

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Editorial: A Basic Question of Fairness | Feature: Canada Cannabis Seed Crackdown? | Feature: In Annual Ritual, Bush Administration Seeks More Aid for Colombia Drug War | Celebrity Mouth: Fox Bloviator Attacks TV News Legend Walter Cronkite over Drug War | Feature: The Push is On Again in Nevada | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Marijuana: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back as Lawrence, Kansas, Adjusts Its Marijuana Laws | Marijuana: University of Texas, Florida State Students Pass SAFER-Style Resolutions | High Schools: South Dakota Legislature Overrides Veto to Lessen Student Drug Penalties | Drug-Free Zones: California Homeless Legislation Would Bar Certain Drug Offenders from LA's Skid Row | Europe: Scottish Tories Tip-Toe Toward Libertarian Line on Drug Policy | South Asia: In Katmandu, Hindu Holy Men Smoke Marijuana in Annual Shiva Festival | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Opportunity: Religious Outreach Coordinator, Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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