Another week's worth of law enforcement officers done in by the temptations created by drug prohibition, including a sheriff headed for prison for turning a blind eye, a prosecutor whose coke habit got him in trouble, a greedy Boston cop, and a pair of pill-peddling policemen. Let's get to it:
In Richmond, Virginia, former Henry County Sheriff Frank Cassell was sentenced to eight months in federal prison Tuesday for covering up widespread corruption in his rural department. Twelve Henry County sheriff's deputies were among 20 people indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they resold seized drugs, including ketamine, steroids, cocaine and marijuana, as well as guns, and engaged in money laundering. Cassell was not accused of participating in the corrupt activities, but of covering up for his deputies. He pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents investigating the case. Seventeen of the 20 arrested have now pleaded guilty, two are in diversion programs, and one faces trial next month.
In Council Bluffs, Iowa, a former Pottawattamie County prosecutor has been convicted of stealing drugs from the evidence room. After cocaine went missing, former Assistant DA Jeff TeKippe argued that he had lawfully flushed it down a toilet, but prosecutors presented evidence of cocaine residues found at TeKippe's house. Jurors convicted him on nine counts of theft, two counts of misconduct in office, and one count of cocaine possession. He faces 10 years or more in prison when he is sentenced October 24.
In Boston, a former Boston police officer pleaded guilty Monday to charges he hired himself out as protection for drug dealers. Former Officer Carlos Pizarro is one of three Boston cops caught in an FBI sting where agents posed as drug traffickers making cocaine shipments to Massachusetts. The feds had him celebrating a supposed successful run on videotape. He pleaded to two counts, including conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute, and faces up to 24 years in federal prison. Officers Robert Pulido and Nelson Carraquillo, who were arrested along with Pizarro, face trials in November.
In Cleveland, Ohio, a former Parma police officer was sentenced September 5 to three years in prison for peddling prescription drugs. Donald McNea, Jr., 54, was arrested in December 2005 by state and federal agents after repeatedly selling Oxycontin and other drugs to an informant and a federal agent. He had been at it since at least 2003, before he retired on disability with a $63,000 a year pension. McNea and his lawyers blamed his drug dealing on a mind fogged by addiction caused by the physical and psychological pain he suffered fighting crime, but his former colleagues painted a picture of a cop with a long history of disciplinary problems. In addition to three years in prison, McNea must pay $27,000 in fines and repay the city $2,000 he got from undercover agents in return for drugs.
In Clarksville, Tennessee, a Clarksville police officer already on paid leave as he faces drug peddling charges is in trouble again. Officer Franklin Mikel was charged in April with three felony drug counts after Indiana State Police arrested him April 4 after he allegedly sold 30 morphine tablets to an informant. Mikel was arrested again Monday morning for driving while intoxicated, public intoxication, and two counts of invasion of privacy after he violated a restraining order taken out against him by his estranged wife. Prosecutors may now ask that his cash bond be revoked pending trial later this year on the drug charges.