More cops as robbers, another cop with an evidence room problem, a cop running interference for a drug gang, and an FBI Special Agent in Charge who hung out with the wrong folks and lied about it. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:
In El Paso, a former head of the El Paso FBI office was indicted April 12 on charges he covered up aspects of his relationship with a Mexican citizen linked to drug cartels. Hardrick Crawford Jr., special agent in charge of the office from July 2001 to November 2003, faces federal counts of making a false statement in electronic communication, concealing material facts from the FBI, making false statements to the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General and two counts of making false statements in public financial disclosure reports regarding gifts he allegedly received. The charges revolve around Crawford's relationship with Jose Maria Guardia, a gambling house and race track owner FBI sources said was involved in drug trafficking, bribery, and money laundering. Crawford socialized with and accepted gifts from Guardia, and Crawford's wife had a $5,000 a month salaried position with Guardia. According to the indictment, Crawford continued his relationship with Guardia even after he was warned Guardia was dirty and lied about it.
In St. Louis, a former St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer was convicted April 5 of helping a local cocaine trafficking operation avoid getting busted. Former Officer Antoine Gordon, 35, was found guilty of drug conspiracy and aiding and abetting a drug conspiracy after a jury trial. He was accused of helping a 20-member trafficking group led by Adrian Minnis avoid detection by running record checks on potential customers to ensure they were not narcs or informants. All 20 members of the Minnis crew, which dealt multi-kilo quantities of heroin and cocaine, have pled guilty. Gordon faces a maximum sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced June 30.
In Berkeley, California, a former police sergeant was charged April 14 in the disappearance of drug evidence from the police evidence room. Sgt. Cary Kent faces grand theft and possession of heroin and methamphetamine charges. The former evidence room employee allegedly used his position to take "the opportunity to tamper with, and remove, drug evidence scheduled for a 'drug burn.'" Berkeley police reported that Kent's supervisor in the Administrative Narcotics Unit had noted as early as September 2005 that he looked unhealthy and was constantly perspiring and sometimes fell asleep at his desk. Supervisors compelled Kent to get a physical examination, which he eventually did in December, but he refused to give blood, so he was placed on desk duty. Kent was placed on paid leave in January and retired shortly thereafter. Berkeley police believe at least 181 evidence bags containing drugs were tampered with.
In Lumberton, North Carolina, a former Robeson County sheriff's deputy was arrested April 13 on charges he was part of a gang that kidnapped and robbed alleged drug dealers in robberies masquerading as drug raids. Former Deputy Patrick Ferguson, 34, became the second deputy arrested in the case, along with four other men, the Associated Press reported. They are accused of using sheriff's department equipment and vehicles to kidnap and hold for ransom a Maxton man during a fake drug raid in May 2004, as well as robbing people at gunpoint in two other fake raids in Virginia Beach.
In Memphis, a reserve Memphis police officer was charged April 13 with robbing drug dealers of tens of thousands of dollars in cash, cocaine, and personal belongings while making arrests, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported. Andrew Hunt, 29, faces federal charges of violating civil rights, armed robbery, possession of a firearm in a crime of violence, and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He would use an informant to set up a drug deal, then rip off the dealer and reward the informant with some of the proceeds. He faces a mandatory minimum 55-year sentence on the gun charges and could get up to 105 years. His mother is a secretary to Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin.
In Boston, a former Malden, Massachusetts, police narcotics officer was convicted April 12 on federal cocaine trafficking charges. David Jordan, 45, was found guilty after a three-week trial of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute three kilograms of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute three kilograms of cocaine, and using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. He was also convicted of trying to tamper with witnesses and making false statements to federal agents. Jordan went down for plotting with three other men to rob a cocaine dealer during a drug deal in December 2003. Jordan showed up at the scene, identified himself as a police officer, and held a gun to the dealer's head while his cohorts grabbed the cocaine. He made $15,000 for his efforts, but now faces decades in jail.
In Worcester, Massachusetts, a former Worcester police officer pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges of distributing GHB, the so-called date rape drug, and to possession of cocaine and Ecstasy. Brian Benedict, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced July 26. His attorney told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette he has been cooperating with authorities. Another three defendants, including Worcester Police Officer Heriberto Arroyo, 36, are awaiting trial.