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Ex-NYPD Narc Testifies Cops Routinely Planted Drugs on Innocent People

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #705)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

A former NYPD narcotics officer has blown a festering police misconduct scandal sky-high with testimony this week that police regularly planted drugs on innocent people to meet arrest quotas. The former narc, Stephen Anderson, was testifying as a cooperating witness in the trial of another officer after he was arrested for planting cocaine on four men in a bar in Queens.

In two days of testimony at the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn last week, Anderson described how rules were routinely broken or ignored so that narcs could make their monthly arrest quotas. His testimony shone new and unflattering light on the department in a scandal that was originally cast as police not turning in all their drug evidence so they could give it to their snitches as rewards for services rendered. One police official at the time characterized it as "noble corruption," done for a worthy cause.

But Anderson's testimony painted a picture of much baser motivations than bending rules in order to get information on drug deals. Anderson alleged that police routinely used drugs they seized but failed to turn in to plant on totally innocent people, without regard to the consequences.

In one case, Anderson described buying three bags of cocaine at a Queens nightclub, then giving two of the bags to a fellow officer, who planted them on and arrested four innocent people.

In court, Justice Gustin Reichblach, who is hearing the case without a jury, pressed Anderson on what he and his comrades had done to innocent people. "What was your thought in terms of saving his career at the cost of those four people who had seemingly no involvement in the transaction?" he asked.

The practice was called "attaching bodies" to the drugs, Anderson responded, adding that four years of life as a narc had numbed him to corruption. "It was something I was seeing a lot of, whether it was from supervisors or undercovers and even investigators," he said. "Seeing it so much, it's almost like you have no emotion with it. The mentality was that they attach the bodies to it, they're going to be out of jail tomorrow anyway, nothing is going to happen to them anyway. That kind of came on to me and I accepted it -- being around that so long, and being an undercover."

The allegations about systematic corruption in NYPD narcotics units has led to the dropping of more than 400 drug prosecutions by prosecutors in Brooklyn and Queens because the officers in the cases are tainted by the scandal. The city is also busily settling civil suits filed by those wrongfully arrested, and is paying out an average of $1,000 for each hour of wrongful detention.

Such corrupt misbehavior on the part of narcotics officers was not a surprise to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), which has been monitoring the NYPD and has also been strongly critical of the department's long-standing policy of arresting people for small-time pot possession. It is decriminalized under state law, but NYPD would force people to take bags of pot from their pockets, then charge them with misdemeanor public display of marijuana, a policy reversed under public pressure just weeks ago.

"One of the consequences of the war on drugs is that police officers are pressured to make large numbers of arrests, and it's easy for some of the less honest cops to plant evidence on innocent people," said DPA's gabriel sayegh. "The drug war inevitably leads to crooked policing -- and quotas further incentivize such practices.

"Whether the issue is planting drugs (like this instance) or falsely charging people for having marijuana in public view (as is the case with the majority of marijuana arrests in NYC) the drug war corrupts police, ruins lives, and destroys trust between law enforcement and the communities that they serve," said Sayegh.

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.


Giordano (not verified)

If the cops can’t plant illegal drugs on people, what good does having illegal drugs do?  How else would cops in the 1950s have been able to keep blacks from moving into white neighborhoods?  Progressing ahead 60 years, how else could cops pad their payroll while targeting any random person, whether minority or majority, for drug harassment?

These types of scandals are inevitable when something as corruptible and full of disinformation as the drug laws are placed within the purview of a very corruptible government and its minions. This is power abuse.

It’s time to send the government to rehab for abusing power.  It’s clear the bureaucrats have a prohibition addiction.


Sun, 10/16/2011 - 4:51pm Permalink
Dave Rabbitt (not verified)

How pathetic and sad, they are so lazy they have to lie and set people up to do their job..

Mon, 10/17/2011 - 2:45am Permalink
Anonymous987978 (not verified)


Now the state governments are going after the poorest families in America by drug testing Americans who apply for welfare. This is humiliating, fortunately only 2% have come out positive. I say lets be FAIR and drug test all people who work for the companies that got bailed out, that received federal money. Lets drug test all government officials and see what's the outcome.
Please tell your representatives to  Legalize, Regulate Drugs and to end this nonsense war that has killed over 40000 people in Mexico.
Thu, 10/20/2011 - 3:39pm Permalink
Dr_H. (not verified)

The cops say they are the good guys, but if you look at their tactics. . .

They plant evidence, lie on warrents, lie to the people they are arresting, lie to the judges,

they employ snitches, harass, scare, intimidate and threaten people (leagally.)  They shoot,

people, beat people and lie to people. Essentially they are liars employed by the state. Oh yeah,

they also buy and sell illeagal drugs. I am sure I missed a few, but the point is . . . These are the tactics

the good guys use?!??! What are the bad guys doing that compares?

Thu, 10/20/2011 - 3:44pm Permalink
joebanana (not verified)

Cops need to be restricted to the station until they get a call. Roaming gangs of government supported murderers is unconstitutional, the war on drugs is unconstitutional, and treason. The government doesn't have the power to criminalize a plant, they had to ammend the constitution to outlaw alcohol before they figured out it wouldn't work. They're getting stupider as time goes on, soon we'll be goverened by a bunch of blithering retards. See how quick that happened.

Thu, 10/20/2011 - 5:12pm Permalink

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