Tennessee's narc of the year gets busted, and cops in Boston and Buffalo cop pleas. Let's get to it:
In Knoxville, Tennessee, a the state's narcotics officer of the year was indicted last Friday on federal charges for taking kickbacks from drug dealers. Knoxville Police Sgt. Brady Valentine, 36, a 13-year veteran, is accused of taking money from marijuana traffickers to allow one load a month to pass unmolested over a three-year period, as well as trafficking in steroids and giving dealers tips to help them avoid getting busted. Valentine was a member of the West Tennessee Violent Crimes and Drug Task Force, a multi-agency team that regularly lands some of the biggest drug busts in the state, and was honored last month as the state's top narc at the Tennessee Narcotics Officers Association annual convention in Gatlinburg.
In Boston, a Boston Police officer pleaded guilty November 8 to federal cocaine trafficking charges, becoming the third to cop a plea in a scandal involving cops providing protection to drug traffickers. Officer Robert Pulido, 42, pleaded guilty after two days of testimony in his trial where his own words on FBI tapes portrayed him as an unscrupulous character more akin to a crime boss than a law officer. He and his partners, Officers Nelson Carrasquillo and Carlos Pizarro, plotted unknowingly with undercover FBI officers to protect trucks carrying 140 pounds of cocaine to Boston. Carrasquillo and Pizarro have already pleaded guilty, and now Pulildo has joined them, copping to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin and two counts of attempting to aid and abet the distribution of cocaine. He also pleaded no contest to carrying a gun in a drug trafficking crime. He faces 15 years to life when he is sentenced February 6. In the meantime, the Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis is vowing to investigate other allegations of corruption that occurred during Pulido's trial, including steroid sales, gambling parties, and illegal after hours parties conducted by other Boston police officers.
In Buffalo, New York, a Buffalo police officer pleaded guilty last Friday in federal court to setting up a phony traffic stop as part of a drug rip-off. Officer Ronnie Funderburk, 42, a nine-year veteran, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to possess cocaine. Funderburk admitted conspiring with a drug dealer to convince one of the dealer's customers that he had seized $14,000 worth of cocaine that the customer had already paid for. The drug dealer copped a plea last month and faces 20 to life. Funderburk faces up to six months when he is sentenced in March.