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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #596)
Drug War Issues

A potentially very ugly scandal is brewing in the DC suburbs, a Pennsylvania cop gets busted just after buying some smack, a California prison guard was peddling PCP, and a former Miami-Dade cop cops a plea in an Ecstasy sting. Let's get to it:

In Washington, DC, federal authorities are investigating a group of Washington area police officers they suspect took money to protect a gambling operation frequented by powerful drug dealers. The officers include five from Prince Georges County, Maryland, a DC police official, and a former DC Housing Authority officer. Investigators have phone records, surveillance, and other records tying the officers to the game's operators, which include known drug dealers. Investigators are looking into whether any of the officers are linked to several killings connected to the ring. An FBI task force and Prince Georges internal affairs are investigating at least two of the officers for active participation in the drug trade and several of them for trafficking in stolen property.

In Pittsburgh, a New Bethlehem police officer was arrested last week when his vehicle was pulled over just after purchasing $450 worth of heroin. Officer Charles Edwards III faces charges of felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver; carrying a firearm without a license as a third-degree felony; possession of a controlled substance as an unclassified misdemeanor; and two traffic law violations. Police saw a pistol in plain sight in his car when they stopped him, and Edwards consented to a search of the vehicle. Police found the heroin during the search. Edwards was booked and released last week on $5,000 cash bail. He has been suspended without pay while his department investigates.

In Fresno, California, a Corcoran State Prison guard was arrested last Friday for selling PCP. Argelia Tovar went down after a three week investigation into drug sales at her home. Fresno police found five grams of solid PCP, a small quantity of liquid PCP, and a dozen PCP-laced cigarettes. It is unclear whether she was smuggling drugs into the state prison. Tovar is now on administrative leave.

In Miami, a former Miami-Dade County police officer pleaded guilty July 22 to drug charges after he got caught in an FBI undercover sting involving Ecstasy shipments. Jorge Delgado, a three-year veteran, admitted using his patrol vehicle to protect what he thought was a shipment of Ecstasy. He was supposed to get $2,500 for his efforts; instead he got arrested. Delgado faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced September 30.

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.


Parent (not verified)

Police corruption, has reached a point that high schools when teaching history should be required to include a course on police corruption in America. The course should include educating students about their Constitutional Rights so if they are stopped or interrogated by police they will at least have a basic understanding of criminal law.

The days of "Leave It to Beaver" when parents told their children, "you can trust the police", are gone.

Fri, 07/31/2009 - 1:42pm Permalink
ejay (not verified)

In reply to by Parent (not verified)

Excellent idea, except that it could only happen at private schools, and only certain ones. Establishmentarians of both parties would never allow it, most likely.

I am favor of direct civilian oversight of the police department, and the demilitarization of local police and county law enforcement. Not unless the agencies are at least at the state level can I see justifying armored cars, SWAT teams, etc., that in the hands of departments large and small are killing and brutalizing innocent people (including mayors of Prince Georges County towns). These outrages often occur in pursuit of the perverted, misguided, and monstrously costly "War on Drugs." This ludicrous policy has corrupted the police and judicial system in this and every other country, just like a national association of police chiefs said it would, in 1912 when commenting on the proposed anti-narcotics Harrison Act.

I believe technology now exists that could easily record and transmit to a remote server/recorder the entire shift of every sworn police officer. We will be more reasonable with the authorities than they ever are to us, by allowing them to escape the mandatory audio/video surveillance during their off hours -- unless, of course, they are carrying their badge and/or weapon. If the gun goes on, the camera goes on. If an officer is caught on duty, or off duty while armed, without the camera, instant suspension.

Right now, I am supporting the NAACP's effort to get citizens to upload their videos of police misconduct to a remote server with their cellphones. I am personally working to develop a WiFi portable video camera, perhaps even a 3G version, so that all video is uploaded in real time to a remote location. Police will no longer be able to seize or destroy cellphones or camcorders when they have been caught committing crimes under color of authority. Accept the new regulation, or resign.

We're headed toward a police state, and forget the slippery slope. We're moving faster now than I ever did on my old garden-hose-powered Slip-'n'-Slide. The first order of business, and the public's first line of defense, is to attack the corruption and abuse perpetrated by the people who are sworn to protect and serve -- that's protect and serve us, not their crooked colleagues. Since the culture of silence behind the blue line holds back reform, police departments and other law agencies cannot be trusted to police themselves.

Sat, 08/01/2009 - 2:28am Permalink
NANASIX (not verified)

As in every walk of life, there are good, bad and indifferent. Police Officers are no different than Politicians, Corporate big wigs, etc...this is life, and the way we weed the bad from the good. Granted, this gives good officers a bad name, and this isn't the way it should be.

Sat, 08/01/2009 - 11:24am Permalink
ejay (not verified)

In reply to by NANASIX (not verified)

Well, of course there are good and bad all over. That is hardly the point. The difference in this case is that a corporate bigwig can't arrest me, shoot me, illegally search my house and fabricate an excuse for it, or bust into my house instead of the right one down the street and shoot my dogs.

These "isolated incidents" are all too common. We used to have a "peace officer" model of policing, we now have an aggressive, overarmed, overreaching constabulary that is at least 30% (more in some places) corrupt or compromised. Entire divisions in L.A., where I've lived since 1989, have been broken up because of endemic corruption -- framing gangbangers for murder after paralyzing them with gunshots, stealing money and drugs all over the county, etc.

Enough is too much. Time to record every officer on the job and put an end to it. Why would an honest cop object? Before you cop fans get going and suggest ALL citizens be surveilled 24/7, stop and think -- we don't represent the state with the muzzle of a gun and a badge.

Good cop or bad, every cop should have constant oversight. Watch for the press release announcing the formation of the Committee for Citizen Oversight of Police (C-COP). The NAACP has a good start with their upload program, but watching the police in real-time is the answer, at least for now.

Sat, 08/01/2009 - 4:13pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by ejay (not verified)

The Brother hit it right on the head! "Peace Officers" wow... If the wrong door is kicked down,the department, courts, county & state should sued. with no limits set. After all we pay them with our tax dollars.

Fri, 08/14/2009 - 9:16am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Have you had any dealings with the (so called) criminal justice system? The only "rights" anyone has are those that they can afford to pay a private lawyer to defend.

Sun, 08/02/2009 - 6:52pm Permalink
Alma (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I so agree. It is so f"*%# up. I have a private lawyer right now that cost a fortune -- I am innocent and believe that the evidence against me is false-- I am not snitching on people that should be charged--- I am now so broke that I have no car. It is all so wrong and corrupt. I know I was not taught how screwed up our justice system is in school or on TV -- or even the books I read in college. Now, at 30 something- I get bogus charges and became schooled... It really needs to change. In fact, I tell myself that it is and that is what keeps me going.

Wed, 10/21/2009 - 8:23am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

What's needed now more than ever is a populist movement to MAKE law enforcement and the judges clean up their act. Failure to do so will surely lead to another civil war.

Mon, 08/03/2009 - 9:55am Permalink

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