Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories 6/30/06

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A pair of crooked Baltimore cops are going to prison for a long, long time, while in two separate incidents down in Louisiana, two deputies get busted on drug and gun charges. Just another week of drug war corruption. Let's get to it:

In Maryland, two former Baltimore police officers received centuries-long prison sentences last week for robbing drug dealers, using their informants to resell heroin on the streets of the city, and running their drug dealing sideline from their squad car. Former officers Antonio Murray and William King were sentenced separately to 139 years and 315 years respectively and got most of their time for federal gun charges carrying mandatory minimum sentences, prompting US District Judge Frederick Motz to complain about mandatory minimum sentencing and call the sentences "grossly disproportionate to the crime." [Editor's Note: Just because the people committing these crimes are cops doesn't mean they deserve to spend literally the rest of their lives in prison, even if some of the crimes are serious in their own right. This weekly feature is not intended to be "anti-cop," but rather to raise awareness of the consequence prohibition has of corrupting our institutions.]

In Louisiana, an Orleans Parish sheriff's deputy was arrested June 21 in Harvey along with three other men in a car that also carried a four-year-old child, a high-powered rifle, and seven grams of heroin. Deputy Brandon Banks, 20, and the three other men were all charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. At the time of the arrest, Banks was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word "Sheriff," and law enforcement officials charged it was in an effort to ward off unwanted attention. But unfortunately for Banks and his cohorts, they were being watched by a new drug task force alerted to an impending heroin transaction. Banks has been suspended from his job.

In Louisiana, an East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputy was arrested June 22 for allegedly trying to shake down a federal informant for drugs and money. Deputy Larry Wright, 25, was in uniform and carrying his weapon when he took $2,500 and a half-pound of fake cocaine from the informant and promised to contact an FBI agent to "get rid of" charges pending against the informant (which is undoubtedly why the guy became an informant). Unfortunately for Wright, the informant was wired, and he was immediately busted by federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents. He now faces federal charges of attempting to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. He has been fired from the sheriff's department and at last report was being held in a jail outside the parish. He faces up to 20 years on the drug count and a mandatory minimum five years on the weapons count.

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Issue #442 -- 6/30/06

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Feature: Reefer Madness from the United Nations on International Anti-Drug Day | Feature: Summer Music Festival Season is Here, and So Are Police Checkpoints -- Know Your Rights! | Follow-Up: Medical Marijuana Gains Support in Congress -- Slightly -- Some Surprises | DRCNet Book Review: Race to Incarcerate, Revised Edition," by Marc Mauer (2006, The New Press, $15.95 PB) | "Scoops" in Drug War Chronicle Last Week | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Law Enforcement: Revelation of Major Sleaze Among "Operation Lively Green" Informants, Cover-Up by FBI Agent | Newsbrief: California Legislature Votes to Gut Prop. 36 -- Court Challenge Imminent | Harm Reduction: Responding to Wave of Fentanyl Overdose Deaths, Senator Durbin Proposes OD Prevention Bill | Hemp: California Industrial Hemp Bill Wins Another Committee Vote | Europe: Italian Ministers Announce Drug Law Revisions | Southwest Asia: Iranian Official Says Country Could Ignore Drug Traffickers if UN Doesn't Up Anti-Drug Aid | Web Scan: Government Waste, Len Bias Legacy, World Drug Report, Zogby Poll, John Stossel, Steph Sherer, Nathan Riley | Weekly: This Week in History | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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