Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Hiding marijuana inside cannoli, taking cocaine from a murder scene, and peddling cocaine are all on the radar this week. So is an investigation into drug smuggling at a US Air Force base in England. Let's get to it:

At Lakenheath and Mildenhall US Air Force bases in England, a dozen US Air Force members are under investigation for alleged drug smuggling. Air Force officials have denied British newspaper reports that military planes were used to smuggle drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy, in military planes. The investigation began in September and first came to light in October. No one has yet been charged, but 11 servicemen from Lakenheath and one from Mildenhall are being questioned by the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations. Two British civilians have also been questioned. Some 27 servicemen and women were arrested in a drug investigation at Lakenheath in 2002.

In San Antonio, a city police officer is under investigation for taking cocaine from a crime scene. Officer Eric Rubio is accused of taking a bag of cocaine from the scene of a shooting. Rubio told investigators he forgot he had the drugs and took them home, then flushed them down the toilet. He has passed a voluntary drug test, the department reported. But the department's Internal Affairs unit is investigating whether he should be charged with tampering with evidence. Rubio is on desk duty until the investigation is completed.

In Hempstead, New York, a Nassau County jail guard was arrested January 4 after he tried to smuggle marijuana stuffed into cannoli into the jail. Rocco Bove, 24, was arrested after he dropped off a box for an inmate. When officers checked it, they found marijuana, rolling papers, matches, and a flint pad inside. Bove had removed the cream filling from the cannoli, stashed the marijuana inside in plastic bags, then refilled the tube-shaped shells of fried pasta. Bove has been suspended without pay and charged with promoting prison contraband and unlawful possession of marijuana.

In Orlando, a Florida prison guard went on trial last week over his role in arranging a 13-pound cocaine deal. Michael Wright, 29, a lieutenant at the Indian River Correctional Facility in Vero Beach, was indicted along with one other man on one count each of conspiracy to distribute narcotics after agreeing to sell 13 pounds of coke for $20,000. The deal never went down because Wright and his accomplice fled when they noticed a law enforcement helicopter circling the area, but they were soon arrested. Wright faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence if found guilty.

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Sheriff Deputy resigns after $1 million dollar seizure

An Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputy resigned Tuesday after Georgia authorities found nearly $1 million hidden in his car during a routine traffic stop last week.

Emmanuel Sanchez, 30, of Alton, has not been arrested but is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of the way the money was allegedly discovered and concealed.

Sanchez told Georgia State Patrol troopers he found the money behind a Hooters restaurant in Atlanta, said spokesman Trooper Larry Schnall. Some of the $950,000, which troopers seized, was discovered within the doors of Sanchez’s truck.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño said Friday he has ordered an inquiry to determine if others in his department knew of or were involved in any wrongdoing in connection with the money found with Sanchez.

"I have not been told that anyone else in my department is involved in this," Treviño said.

Citing the confidentiality of personnel files, Treviño would not say if any complaints have previously been made against Sanchez, a patrol deputy who joined the department in 2001.

"We’re going to interview his close friends, if he has any," Treviño said. "We’ll look into prior rumors, if there’s any."

Sanchez could not be reached for comment Friday.

Georgia troopers discovered the money in Sanchez’s Ford F-350 after he was pulled over for an unspecified "moving violation" the night of Jan. 6, Schnall said. Sanchez was driving west on Interstate 20 between Temple and Villa Rica, Ga. — about 40 miles west of Atlanta.

"It was highly unusual for someone to have that much cash," Schnall said.

After being stopped, Sanchez identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy and agreed to let troopers search his truck.

During the search, authorities discovered a "stack of loose currency" inside a duffel bag in the truck’s back seat, Schnall said. Once the money had been discovered, Sanchez became confrontational and withdrew his consent for the search.

Troopers later called a K-9 unit to the scene, and the dog alerted them to suspicious material inside the car. Under Georgia law, authorities can conduct a search if a K-9 investigation indicates suspicious circumstances, Schnall said.

They issued a traffic warning to Sanchez and seized the money but let him go without arrest. Investigators are attempting to verify Sanchez's claims that he found the money in Atlanta, Schnall said. The former deputy could seek to have the cash returned through Georgia courts.

Luisa Deason, a Houston-based spokeswoman for ICE, said she was "not at liberty to discuss … an ongoing investigation."

Treviño, who has talked several times to federal and Georgia authorities, said he could not investigate Sanchez because there have been no allegations that he committed a crime in Hidalgo County. Sanchez, a patrol deputy, was not assigned to any special units.

"This guy was not arrested. There’s no criminal allegations against him," Treviño said. "So I’m in a pickle."

Sanchez did not give a reason for leaving and declined an exit interview when he resigned Tuesday, Treviño said. Had Sanchez not resigned, Treviño said he could have conducted an investigation into the former deputy’s conduct.

If an investigation found evidence of improper conduct, "I was going to fire him," Treviño said. "He just beat me to the punch."

Since Treviño took office in January 2005, at least five sheriff’s office employees have been under criminal investigation.

$DRUGMONEY$

WHAT A FINE EXAMPLE OF LIE ENFORCEMENT. HE RESIGNED SO THERE WOULD BE NO INVESTIGATION.

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