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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #496)
Drug War Issues

This week we have a pair from the US-Mexico border, where temptation is always close at hand, and a pair from Florida, where corruption seems to thrive in the steamy atmosphere. Let's get to it:

In El Paso, a Customs and Border Patrol agent was arrested July 27 for allegedly letting more than a ton of marijuana into the country. CBP Officer Margarita Crispin is charged with one count of conspiracy to import a controlled substance. According to the indictment, she conspired with others from 2003 to this year to let truck loads get by border checkpoints. She was jailed awaiting a bond hearing at last report.

In Miami Beach, a city parking enforcement officer was arrested last weekend on drug sales charges. Enforcement Officer Elio Espinosa allegedly sold three bags of drugs to an informant. He is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school.

In Tucson, three former National Guardsmen were sentenced to prison last week for conspiring to run drugs for traffickers. They are only the latest of the more than three dozen current and former police and military personnel ensnared in Operation Lively Green, an FBI sting where agents posed as traffickers and enlisted the help of law enforcement and military personnel to move drug shipments. Demian Castillo, a former recruiter for the Tucson Army National Guard, got two years for accepting $14,000 to run two drug loads in 2002. Former Guard member Sheldon Anderson got 10 months for helping out on a single drug run. Former Guardsman Mario Quintana got two years for helping out on two loads. All three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official.

In Hollywood, Florida, a fifth Hollywood police officer has now pleaded guilty in an FBI sting operation. Former Hollywood Police Lt. Charles Roberts pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement when he told investigators he knew nothing about an undercover FBI sting. The sting, known as Operation Tarnished Badge, targeted Hollywood police officers who were agreeable to transporting heroin for people they believed to be drug dealers but who were actually FBI agents. It was shut down early after word of its existence leaked out. Three officers have been sentenced to prison for their roles in drug transportation conspiracies, and a fourth awaits sentencing this month. Roberts faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in October.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

No one ever seems to realize that in most of these stings not a single person who was ACTUALLY trafficking in drugs was stopped from doing so.

Fri, 08/03/2007 - 3:02pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I teach criminal justice majors in Southern California and I talk about this web site, and inparticular these egregious offenses nearly every week. Unless we legalize marijuana once and for all, this nonsense will continue and probably escalate.

Fri, 08/03/2007 - 3:48pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Even cops are affected by lousey drug laws.It amazes me someone goes to jail for a plant.

Mon, 08/06/2007 - 11:17am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am glad to see orgs like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, where officers, some of them very senior, very experienced, get to tell the truth about their involvement with drugs and the law; they know the score. They know Prohibition is the killer here.

Tue, 08/07/2007 - 4:03am Permalink
dankdan (not verified)

Margarita Crispin for allowing tons of herb into this country. Though you may have been bribed, you helped us get stoned for the past few years and we respect you for that :-)

Wed, 08/08/2007 - 5:44am Permalink

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