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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #528)
Drug War Issues

Greedy jail guards, pill-peddling cops, sticky-fingered cops, and a sticky-fingered prosecutor. On the corrupt cop front, it's the same old same old. Here's this week's version. Let's get to it:

In Charleston, Illinois, a former Coles County assistant prosecutor is considering voluntary disbarment after being accused of stealing drugs from a Coles County Sheriff's Department evidence locker. Former prosecutor James Baba, 39, took 10 grams of marijuana from the department and never returned it after telling deputies "he needed the evidence for court purposes," according to an official with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC). The ARDC accused Baba of theft in a complaint filed last August but not publicly known until now, and also noted the he successfully sought the dismissal of the case against the man to whom the 10 grams of pot belonged. While Baba had reportedly agreed to voluntary disbarment, he had not submitted paper work to the ARDC by last week, and the commission said it will move to disbar him if he doesn't do it himself. The missing marijuana was discovered after Baba had been fired in 2006 for excessive absences. State prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges.

In Cleveland, a Cleveland police sergeant got out on bail Tuesday after being arrested on charges he stole money from a department evidence locker. Sgt. Carlton Darrell, 41, is accused of stealing $5,779 while he served as supervisor of the narcotics unit. He was originally arrested in November after a four-month Internal Affairs investigation and was rearrested last week after being indicted. He is charged with theft, theft in office and tampering with records. Each count is a third degree felony and carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

In Lebanon, Ohio, a Lebanon Correctional Institution officer was arrested last Friday for trying to smuggle heroin, crack cocaine, and marijuana into the Turtlecreek township prison. John Curless, 35, is charged with third-degree felony attempting to convey drugs onto the grounds of a detention facility, fifth-degree felony possession of drugs and fifth-degree possession of criminal tools. Curless went down after the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections obtained information that he was working with a prisoner to bring drugs into the prison. He was arrested as he met with his contact to pick up the drugs headed for the prison. He faces up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine if convicted.

In Swampscott, Massachusetts, a Swampscott police officer was arrested March 13 on federal charges of selling Percocet pills. Officer Thomas Wrenn, 37, is charged with possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. According to an affidavit, Wrenn purchased Percocet pills, which contain oxycodone, over a period of months and routinely consumed them and cocaine. He is also accused of selling some pills to a former Nahant police officer and a young woman in whom he had a romantic interest. Wrenn was arrested by DEA agents and Swampscott police as he purchased 50 pills from his regular supplier.

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)

With every allegation and eventual arrest, this leaves a potential job opening for one of my ITT Technical College criminal justice students. Just keep coming at us with these "corrupt cop stories" and maybe it will straighten out a few who are tempted to do the wrong thing.

Scott Tudehope
ITT Technical College
San Bernadino, California

Fri, 03/21/2008 - 2:48pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

And with every arrest of a law enforcement one can at least be hopeful that the ranks of LEAP will grow. Who better to emphasize the tragic consequences of the drug war. Although some of my experiences with cops have been less than amicable, I have also met some very stand-up people. They have been given a job that no amount of training can prepare them for. Some of them, sadly enough, see so much of the underbelly, the broken families caused by harsh drug laws they end up ending their lives. This sort of thing is by no stretch of imagination laughable but that is exactly what the politicians do when they make lame jokes about their "youthful indescretions". Indescretions that they enact legislation against that put people away for jail terms that are almost impossible to believe especially balanced against what murders and rapist receive.

Sat, 03/22/2008 - 2:21am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I got arrested on St. Patrick's day for possession of less than 7 grams of cannabis. I was unloading beer from the car when two officers pulled up in a go cart. We thought they were security guards at first glance because they were wearing light gray T-shirts. We quickly realized they were police when they pulled up behind us and told us all to freeze. Thats when we noticed they were both armed and had "sheriff" written on their T-shirts. I am a 23 year old male but the female officer on site (Janice Wagner) decided to search me without consent or probable cause. She said she was "patting me down" for her own safety but stuck both her hands in my pockets. She found less than 7 grams of cannabis on me while feeling my balls, ass and the rest of my body. I was charged with open container (despite the fact that none of the beers had even been opened), possession (despite the illegal search) and a third charge that I can't read (from the judges reaction it looked like he couldn't read it either). I was not allowed to use the bathroom for the first 5 hours I spent in cuffs. We are living in a police state, created by the so called "war on drugs". Anyone arrested on drug charges in Florida is given a full strip search, this includes having to lift your sack and spread your ass. I was thinking about suicide as soon as I got arrested. I was not given food, water or meds the entire time I was in jail so I was dehydrated and sick by the time I got out. I would gladly die before entering the FL prison/jail system again. I have been violated but there is no way I can sue because I can't afford a lawyer. My court date has not been set yet but I will probably end up being on probation for a year (the Judge said I would be getting a letter with my court date in a few weeks). If this is the case I might flee the country or kill myself.

BTW: The police stole my wallet, cash, ID, credit cards and everything else that was in my wallet. I will have to cancel all 5 of my credit cards. They also stole my weed, bowl, and my KP despite the fact that I have a prescription. I might do a full book on the subject, depending on how the readers respond.

Sun, 03/23/2008 - 4:50pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

yes you have nothing to loose by leaving.
all has allready been lost there

Sun, 03/23/2008 - 5:14pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am sorry about your case after I have read it I have decided that I would rather flee and get shot than be stripped searched.

May contact your local ACLU see if they could help you.

Fri, 05/09/2008 - 4:12pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

curless is now the property of the state of ohio

Thu, 03/26/2009 - 10:42am Permalink
Liberate Wisco… (not verified)

Officer suspended over suggestive text messages
LADYSMITH - The city Police and Fire Commission has given a suspended officer until 4:30 this afternoon to resign.

Police Officer Troy Guthman, 34, reportedly sent suggestive text messages to a 16-year-old witness in a sexual assault case. Guthman, a 10-year veteran on the force, was suspended March 27.

The Ladysmith Police and Fire Commission on Wednesday authorized Guthman's suspension with pay and asked for his resignation, said Chairman Ken Buchholz. Guthman did not attend Wednesday's meeting, Buchholz said.
This cop also meet with the girl more than once after the text.

Thu, 06/18/2009 - 11:55pm Permalink

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