Busy, busy. A Virginia police chief gets caught selling speed, a New Jersey State Trooper gets arrested for stealing and re-selling seized drugs, a New Jersey prison guard gets nailed trying to smuggle prescription drugs into the prison, a former Schenectady narc pleads guilty to ripping off cocaine from the evidence locker, a former Border Patrol agent is going to prison for stealing a bale of pot he was supposed to be guarding, and a corrupt Milwaukee cop wants back pay. Let's get to it:
In Damascus, Virginia, the police chief was arrested Saturday on charges he was selling methamphetamine. Chief Anthony Richardson faces seven felony counts of drug distribution and possessing a weapon while possessing drugs. He went down after an undercover investigation where a snitch bought speed off the chief on June 12. Richardson was arrested without incident at the city police department. Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said there is now a federal investigation into Richardson.
In Elizabeth, New Jersey, a state trooper was indicted and arrested June 21 on charges he stole and sold drugs seized by police. Trooper Brian Holmes, 41, had been suspended without pay since May 2006, when his partner, Trooper Moises Hernandez, pleaded guilty to aiding members of a drug ring. Hernandez is now doing a 24-year state prison sentence. Holmes was indicted on 13 counts including official misconduct, theft, falsifying records and drug trafficking for, among other things, stealing more than 10 pounds of cocaine from a 123-pound seizure at a Newark warehouse in August 2002 and giving the stolen drugs to Hernandez to sell. He is also charged with stealing a thousand ecstasy tablets from a seizure in Elizabeth in 2004 and selling them with Hernandez.
In Fairton, New Jersey, a federal prison guard was arrested June 14 on charges he accepted bribes to smuggle contraband into the prison. Steven Harper, 32, a guard at the Fairton Federal Correctional Institution, is accused of taking money from a person he thought was an inmate's relative to smuggle in prescription drugs, protein powder, work-out supplements and cigarettes. That person was actually an undercover agent. Harper was snitched out by an inmate after agreeing to smuggle in the goods for $6,000. He is now out on $100,000 bond and faces up to 15 years in prison.
In Schenectady, New York, a former Schenectady narc admitted Monday that he stole crack cocaine from the vice squad evidence locker. The admission came as former narcotics officer Jeffrey Curtis pleaded guilty to drug possession and evidence tampering in a plea bargain that will limit his prison time to four years max. Earlier this year, an investigation into missing drug evidence found that cocaine had gone missing in 15 cases and marijuana in one. While Curtis confessed to taking some of the missing dope, he said he couldn't remember if he took all the cocaine State Police investigators said was missing. Curtis first came to investigators' attention after he failed a drug test given in connection with the investigation into the missing drugs. Police put him under surveillance and arrested him March 16 after they spotted him coming out of a suspected drug-dealing house. It's only the latest problem for a troubled department: Earlier this decade, four patrol officers went to prison for rewarding snitches with crack cocaine, another went to prison for giving a gun to a drug dealer, and earlier this year, another officer admitted tipping off a friend about a gambling investigation but was allowed to keep his job.
In Tucson, a former US Border Patrol agent is going to prison for stealing marijuana while on duty. Michael Carlos Gonzalez, 34, was found guilty in March of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense. Gonzales was on duty back on December 6 when an Arizona highway patrolman pulled over a vehicle and found 30 bales of weed. The patrolman left Gonzalez to guard the stash, but his dashboard camera showed Gonzalez taking one bale and putting in the trunk of his car. The weed was never recovered. Gonzales must now do 7 Â½ years in federal prison.
In Milwaukee, a police detective fired for his involvement in the theft of drug money planted by the FBI is seeking back pay and benefits. Milwaukee Detective Philip Sliwinski was caught up in a sting aimed at another Milwaukee police officer, Edwin Bonilla, after reports that Bonilla had taken drug money from crime scenes. In August 2000, the FBI left a bag with $23,000 in a hotel room, where Bonilla found it. Bonilla testified that he, Sliwinski, and a third officer each took $1,000. Sliwinski was never charged, but he was fired. Now he is seeking back pay and benefits after the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled he was denied the right to fully question a federal agent involved in the sting. While the court upheld his firing, Sliwinski's lawyer is arguing that even though he was fired, he should be eligible for pay and benefits up until the state Fire and Police Commission rehears his case.