Skip to main content

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #456)
Drug War Issues

We have them at every stage of the criminal justice process this week, from arrest to guilty plea to sentencing. For a pair of greedy, wheeling-dealing cops in St. Louis and Miami, the ride through the criminal justice funhouse is just getting started. A former St. Paul cop has just copped a plea, and now former cops in Connecticut and Hawaii are heading to prison. Let's get to it:

Miami-Dade Police Department patch (or item # 180033018469 on ebay)
In Miami, a Miami-Dade County police officer was arrested last Friday on cocaine trafficking charges, the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida announced in a press release the same day. Officer Errol Benjamin is accused of selling 13 pounds of coke while in uniform. He is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and faces up to life in prison and a $4 million fine, the feds noted.

In St. Louis, a suburban Hillsdale, Missouri, police officer was indicted in an elaborate cocaine distribution conspiracy, the office of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri announced in a press release last Friday. Hillsdale Police Sgt. Christopher Cornell conspired with a tow truck company operator to rip off drug dealers and resell their cocaine, the feds charged. The tow operator would set up drug runners to deliver cocaine in Hillsdale and notify Cornell, who would stop and jail them for minor violations, leaving their cars at the roadside. The towing company would then tow the cars, steal the drugs, and resell them. US Attorney Catherine Hanaway estimated that the scheme had brought in $2.4 million in profits. The indictment seeks the forfeiture of Cornell's property, including a Mercedes Benz and other cars.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, a retired St. Paul police officer pleaded guilty last Friday to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. Clemmie Howard Tucker, a 23-year veteran who retired in 1998, was busted trying to pick up 22 pounds of cocaine and 12 pounds of meth at the Greyhound Bus Depot in neighboring Minneapolis. Police put the value of the seized drugs at $4 million. Although Tucker was tearful and contrite during his plea, it doesn't matter: He faces a mandatory minimum 10-year prison sentence. Pending cocaine charges will probably be dropped at sentencing, Tucker's lawyer said.

In Bridgeport, Connecticut, a former Bridgeport police officer was sentenced to 45 months in prison for peddling oxycodone, the active ingredient in the popular pain reliever OxyContin. Former Officer Jeffrey Streck, 40, a 10-year veteran, pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to possess oxydone with the intent to distribute after being arrested by the FBI in 2005. According to the Associated Press, Streck was arrested as part of a three-month investigation into large-scale cocaine and marijuana trafficking and had arranged an Oxycontin buy.

In Honolulu, a Honolulu police officer who pleaded guilty to selling more than $5,000 worth of methamphetamine to an undercover informant was sentenced to five years and five months in prison on September 28, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported. Robert Henry Sylva, 50, had faced three counts of distributing meth during 2004, but copped to one count in a December plea agreement. Although Sylva faced an federal advisory guideline sentencing range of 7 to 12 years, US District Judge David Ezra cut him some slack at federal prosecutors' request after they said he had cooperated with investigators after being busted.

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.


UzzBaldrin (not verified)

Regarding Clemmie Tucker, he cried like a baby in court and even wore his right arm in a sling claiming an injury, when the judge asked him if he could use his right arm to be sworn in he said no, so the judge asked him to raise his left arm.

Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:26pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

 I dont understand why people do drugs. i use to smoke pot but now i dont. i think it was the stupidest thing i could of ever did in my life. think before you do!

Tue, 10/10/2006 - 1:11pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Drugs are not the leading crime in the United States, just relax and focus on things such as political rings and government conspiracies then you will see the real scum bags

Thu, 10/12/2006 - 5:15pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

how long must the corruption go on? The crimes of those sworn to protect us are only fueled by the greed factor. If we take the possible profits from the true criminals then what gain do officers have in breaking laws that are outdated and unjust. Take away temptation...legalize and standardize the use of these illegal substances and maybe we can focus on helping people, rather than encarcerating them.
capt. J

Mon, 10/16/2006 - 4:24am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Regarding the comment posted Tue, 10/10/2006 - 12:11pm:

"...could of ever did"? By your atrocious grammar, I strongly suspect you were intellectually handicapped before smoking any pot. I definitely think that people in this condition should not make their condition any worse by doing any intoxicants whatsoever.

Thu, 01/04/2007 - 9:19pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Being a normal person where crime was the cost of gas going up... my eyes were opened when I had to sit through a trial with a family member.
I am a citizen who thought the officer was right and wanted to save us from harm... . Im still in shock. False accusations, paid convicts $5000 to testify, prejudice of race but told by our "trusting" attorney that it wasnt significant. Valid info held so jury cound not hear. A key State witness was never disclosed until day of sentencing! .... after that we found out she was dead 4 months prior! Our public defender for this criminal case was a bankrupcy attorney who never handled a criminal case. Our witnesses were not allowed for one reason or another... because the attorney didnt ask the questions right. I took notes dilengently and brought to attention to the lawyer during trail breaks of untruths... and proof etc. We were told they would be in the transcripts.. however transcripts would not be available until after trial was over.... it just goes on and on. The first officer who inspected vehicle admitted there was no evidence (after inspection) in the radio & phone transcripts & was never even called to testify. Only the chosen ones by the DA. Found out many officers in this town were married, related, went to school... yada yada ... all were like family.
There was so much, its impossible to tell it all.
I watch every 20/20, 60 Minutes or any public case.... and wonder..... how much did the jury really know?.. how much was an agenda to put another notch in the DAs belt? I was recently told by a retired sheriff. When a county is given a grant for a narcotics division... if they dont make enough arrests... they create them .... so they dont lose their grant. Makes sense to me. I could easily become a advocate for prisoners. One thing that makes me sick.. this person was originally charched with misdemenor... but becasue he couldnt produce more drug associates and kept claiming he was innocent... by time the trial ended ... he was up to a class X.. and the DA made that threat and stuck to it.
Slowly .. these sleeze bags are getting caught but not enough and not quick enough. Sorry, Had to blow off steam. Would love to start an ongoing blog? or whatever for potential jurors to visit and open their eyes that the crime may be the court system... not the person on trial.

Tue, 03/11/2008 - 12:54am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I know because I am one of their victims. I was warned by someone whom they did get drugs planted on NEVER to let a cop in my home without a warrant, so when it happened to me I was warned and ready for them. Before they arrested me they beat me up some to intimidate me and then they cuffed me. Then three cops stood outside my residence trying to convince me with flimsy excuses to let them go in. Can we get your purse/wallet? Tell us where your money is and we'll get it for you so you can pay bail. And other such statements. When I said "no, just lock my door and let's go" three times the three stooges (cops) remained standing outside of my door trying to figure out how to get in without the other people watching getting suspicous. On their third attempt they just opened the door and stepped inside, and my dog ran out. One cop picked up the dog and walked inside my apartment saying "would you like me to put your dog in a crate?" My answer was "NO, he has free run of the house. Put him down, lock my door and let's go." At that point I started backing down the stairs with my hands behind my back in cuffs and was almost out the front door to safety when the three stooges (cops) standing around my doorway figured out that I was getting away. They ran down the stairs, put me in the back of a police car, and went back inside for 30 to 45 minutes and cooked up a story that they used to arrest and convict me. Because they are the cops they were believed and I have spent 50 thousand dollars on legal fees trying to prove my innocence despite the fact that their stories don't match, don't add up, and actually conflict with each other's testimony and their arrest report. Our INJustice system doesn't work to free the innocent..... it just perpetuates police brutality. And the laws that allow home and personal property to be confiscated by the DEA and local Police in drug raids just adds to the corruption by those people. When are we going to take cars away from drunk drivers instead of lives and livlihood away from people accused of drugs by corrupt cops? I have been told by several lawyers that I did the right thing by trying to get away if it meant turning their attention away from my door and from planting drugs on me. When are we going to wise up as a society and realize that Ronnie Reagan and his war on drugs was the ramblings of a senile old man who was probably on a cornucopia of drugs himself (called prescription medication)? I learned when I was in college that the difference between legal and illegal drugs is not the drugs themselves, but who you get them from. It's time we stop making criminals and victims out of people by allowing and even encouraging police to arrest innocent people because if they plant certain drugs on them, the cops get to keep their stuff. It's just wrong, and it leads to this kind of corruption.

Tue, 06/17/2008 - 5:41pm Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.