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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #639)
Drug War Issues

A Texas cop hangs with meth dealers, a Utah cop rips-off the drug buy money, and a Florida trooper has the DEA on his case. Let's get to it:

In Moab, Utah, a former Moab police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail and probation for stealing cash from the department. Edward Guerrero, 43, was charged with third-degree felony burglary and Class A misdemeanor theft for stealing about $900 from two envelopes stored in the office of a police lieutenant. The funds were to be used to make drug buys. Guerrero pleaded guilty last month to the theft count, and the burglary charge was dropped. He could have faced up to a year in jail, but instead will do just a month, with two years of probation. He also has to pay a $958 fine.

In Kemp, Texas, a Kemp police officer was arrested June 30 for stealing property from the department, exchanging it for drugs, and providing protection for local meth dealers in return for product, which he sold. Officer Damon Smith, 34, is currently charged with two counts of abuse of official capacity, but officials said more charges are pending. At last report, Smith was being held in the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center and was awaiting a bail hearing.

In West Palm Beach, Florida, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper has been put on administrative duty while he is being investigated by the DEA. Trooper Gary Bach has not been arrested and officials would not provide details about the nature of the allegations against him. Bach has been on administrative duty since mid-May.

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.


Auntie Social (not verified)

Forget about saving Washington, D.C. Circle the wagons around your state and get rid of those that oppose Freedom in your city.

Fri, 07/09/2010 - 3:15pm Permalink
Rwolf (not verified)

NSA Under Bush II May Have Wiretapped Your Phone, Fax and Private Email Communications. Now NSA Will Monitor Your Internet.

In 2008 Telecoms were granted government immunity after they helped U.S. Government spy on millions of Americans’ electronic communications. Since, Government has not disclosed what happened to NSA’s millions of collected emails, faxes and phone call information that belong to U.S. Citizens? Could those wiretaps perhaps illegal, become a problem for some Americans? Neither Congress nor the courts—determined what NSA electronic surveillance could be used by police or introduced into court by the government to prosecute Citizens.

In 2004, former Attorney General John Ashcroft asked government prosecutors to review thousands of old intelligence files including wiretaps to retrieve information prosecutors could use in “ordinary” criminal prosecutions. That was shortly after a court case lowered a barrier that prior, blocked prosecutors from using illegal-wire tap evidence in Justice Dept. “Intelligence Files” to prosecute ordinary crimes. It would appear this information, may also be used by government to prosecute civil asset forfeitures.

Considering that court case, it appears NSA can share its electronic-domestic-spying with government contractors and private individuals that have security clearances to facilitate the arrest and forfeiture of Americans’ property—-to keep part of the bounty. Police too easily can take an innocent person’s hastily written email, fax, phone call or web post out of context to allege a crime or violation was committed to cause an arrest or asset forfeiture.

There are over 200 U.S. laws and violations mentioned in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 and the Patriot Act that can subject property to civil asset forfeiture. Under federal civil forfeiture laws, a person or business need not be charged with a crime for government to forfeit their property. In the U.S., private contractors and their operatives, work so close with police exchanging information, to arrest Americans and or share in the forfeiture of their assets, they appear to merge with police.

Rep. Henry Hyde’s bill HR 1658 passed, the “Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000” and effectively eliminated the “statue of limitations” for Government Civil Asset Forfeiture. The statute now runs five years from when police allege they “learned” that an asset became subject to forfeiture. With such a weak statute of limitations and the low standard of civil proof needed for government to forfeit property “A preponderance of Evidence”, it is problematic law enforcement and private government contractors will want access to NSA and other government wiretaps perhaps illegal and Citizens’ private information U.S. Government agencies glean monitoring the Internet, to arrest Americans and to seize their homes, inheritances and businesses under Title 18USC and other laws. Of obvious concern, what happens to fair justice in America if police and government contractors become dependent on “Asset Forfeiture” to pay their salaries and operating costs?

Under the USA Patriot Act, witnesses including government contractors can be kept hidden while being paid part of the assets they cause to be forfeited. The Patriot Act specifically mentions using Title 18USC asset forfeiture laws: those laws include a provision in Rep. Henry Hyde’s 2000 bill HR 1658—for “retroactive civil asset forfeiture” of “assets already subject to government forfeiture”, meaning "property already tainted by crime" provided “the property” was already part of or “later connected” to a criminal investigation in progress" when HR.1658 passed. That can apply to more than two hundred federal laws and violations.

Alarmingly the Obama Government recently employed a vendor to search Internet social networking sites to collect information about Americans that could potentially be used by this government to injure Americans, for example, if you apply for a federal job, your name might be crossed referenced by the Obama Government with comments you made at Websites against Obama; or if you make application at a bank for a loan the Government has control since the financial crisis, could your Internet comment(s) prevent you getting that loan? Obama’s monitoring of the Internet sites can too easily be used by Government to intimidate Citizens from speaking out.

Mon, 07/12/2010 - 1:44am Permalink

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