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Police Corruption

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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A DEA agent heads to prison for diverting $9 million from money-laundering investigations, a California cop heads to jail for throwing out an exonerating drug test of a woman driver, and more. Let's get to it:

In Augusta, Georgia, a Richmond County sheriff's deputy was arrested Monday on charges he smuggled weapons and drugs into the county jail for inmates. Now former Deputy Davion Deboskie joins four other deputies already arrested and fired in an investigation of contraband at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center. Four of the other five were only charged with violating their oaths, but one, like Deboskie, was also charged with unlawful street gang activity. The arrests came after a search of the jail that came up with 23 weapons (19 shanks and 4 clubs), nine tobacco cases, at least five synthetic cannabinoid packages, at least 34 pills, and one container of homemade alcohol.

In Miami, a former DEA special agent was sentenced December 9 to more than 12 years in federal prison for operating a money laundering and fraud scheme while serving as a special agent with the DEA. Jose I. Irizarry, 46, had pleaded guilty in September to all 19 counts of an indictment that included conspiracy to commit money laundering, honest services wire fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Facing personal financial pressures, Irizarry used his position as a special agent to divert approximately $9 million from undercover DEA money laundering investigations to himself and to co-conspirators. In return, Irizarry received bribes and kickbacks worth at least $1 million for himself and his family, which was used to purchase jewelry, luxury cars, and a home. To carry out the scheme, Irizarry and his co-conspirators used a stolen identity to open a bank account under false pretenses and then utilized the account to receive diverted drug proceeds. The scheme lasted throughout Irizarry's assignments to the DEA's Miami Field Division and to its office in Cartagena, Colombia.

In Ventura, California, a former Ventura County Sheriff's deputy was sentenced last Wednesday to a year in jail for throwing away a drug test that exonerated a woman and instead continuing to try to arrest her. When the woman complained to another deputy, he found the negative test result in the trash. Then-Deputy Richard Charles Barrios was then charged and convicted of destroying physical matter.

In Ocala, Florida, a former federal prison guard was sentenced last Friday to 20 months in prison for smuggling drugs into the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex. Guard Wayne Grant, 28, went down in a sting where he agreed to smuggle methamphetamine into the prison in exchange for money. He accepted delivery of 70 grams of fake meth and $2,000 in money orders and then smuggled the fake meth into the prison and gave it to an inmate. He was charged with receipt of a bribe by a public official and pleaded guilty in September.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A rogue cop in northern California goes down for stealing weed and cash from motorists in the guise of marijuana law enforcement, and more. Let's get to it:

In Chicago, a former Cook County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Thursday for his alleged role in trafficking cocaine from Mexico to Illinois. Juan Carmona, 46, went down after Homeland Security Investigations discovered Carmona's participation in an international cocaine trafficking ring and seized 16 kilograms of cocaine from two residences he owned. He is charged with calculated criminal drug conspiracy, criminal drug conspiracy, controlled substance trafficking, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance. He's looking at a mandatory minimum 30-year sentence on the conspiracy charges.

In San Francisco, a former Rohnert Park drug interdiction team leader pleaded guilty last Wednesday to conspiring with a team member to steal cash and marijuana from motorists traveling local highways. Ex-Sgt. Brandan "Jacy" Tatum and his partner, Joseph Huffaker, were both indicted in 2018; Tatum is the one who pleaded guilty last week. The pair ranged well beyond the Rohnert Park city limits to stop motorists in Sonoma and Marin counties and unlawfully seize their property under the guise of marijuana law enforcement. The pair went down after a string of motorists complained about them to local media. Tatum pleaded guiltyto federal charges of conspiracy to commit extortion under "color of law," falsifying records in a federal investigation and tax evasion. Tatum is set to be sentenced on March 9.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A meth-cooking New Jersey cop gets himself in trouble, a southern California sheriff's deputy gets caught trying to frame a woman for meth, and more. Let's get to it:

In Freehold, New Jersey, a former Long Brach police officer pleaded guilty November 16 to running a meth lab in his home. Christopher Walls, 50, went down after police were called to a domestic disturbance at his home "and someone there told officers about it." A state police hazmat team then searched the residence and found meth-making equipment and precursor chemicals, as well as meth-making manuals and books about explosives and poisons. He pleaded guilty to one count of manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance and to one count of causing a risk of widespread injury. He is looking at up to 10 years in state prison when he is sentenced in January.

In Ventura, California, a former Ventura County Sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty on November 17 to throwing out a drug test that exonerated a woman he had detained on suspicion of using methamphetamine. Then-Deputy Richard Charles Barrios III was on patrol in November 2019 when he stopped a woman for an alleged traffic violation and suspected she was under the influence of meth. She vehemently denied it, and Barrios then told her if she provided a urine sample at a nearby police station and tested negative, he would apologize and drive her back to her car. But after viewing the test results, Barrios threw the test kit in the garbage and refused to tell her the results, instead telling his supervisor the woman had refused a drug test and beginning to book her into the jail. But the woman told another deputy Barrios had refused to tell her the results, and when that deputy retrieved the test kit from the garbage, it registered negative. The woman then submitted to and passed a second urine test, whereupon she was then released. An investigation began immediately, resulting in Barrios pleading guilty to one felony count of destroying physical matter.

In Birmingham, Alabama, a former state Department of Corrections officer was sentenced November 17 to 87 months in federal prison for trying to smuggle 497 grams of methamphetamine into a state prison in Bessemer. Gary Charles Dixon, 36, had pleaded guilty to unlawful possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in a state prison and one count of distribution of 50 grams or more in July. He went down after a DEA investigation.

In Doylestown, Pennsylvania, a Bucks County corrections officer was sentenced November 20 to up to four years in state prison for being part of a drug-smuggling conspiracy inside the Bucks County Correctional Facility. Joseph Jennings, 33, was among nine people charged in June 2020 in a scheme to smuggle Suboxone strips into the jail after investigators found he had smuggled the drug into the jail on multiple occasions between October 2018 and July 2019. He pleaded guilty to contraband and criminal conspiracy and was sentenced the same day.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Pennsylvania trooper's heroin habit gets him in trouble, a Georgia cop's protection of her drug-dealing boyfriend gets her in trouble, and more. Let's get to it:

In Los Angeles, a Los Angeles County sheriff's jail guard was arrested last Monday for trying to smuggle meth into the Men's Central Jail. The unnamed guard was caught with more than 100 grams of meth inside his vehicle parked in the jail's parking structure. He is charged with one felony count each of transportation of a controlled substance and attempted bringing of an illegal substance into a jail.

In Bridgeport, West Virginia, a Randolph County jail guard was arrested last Tuesday for smuggling drugs into the jail for an inmate. Guard Homer Howell, 39, allegedly took drugs and cell phones to the jail when returning from breaks in exchange for money from an inmate's parent. He allegedly made $8,000 to $10,000 for multiple deliveries. He is charged with delivering a controlled substance to a correctional facility.

In Atlanta, a former South Fulton police officer was arrested last Friday for allegedly tampering with evidence in a drug investigation in which her boyfriend was targeted. Former Officer Aliyah Jackson went down after police stopped her boyfriend and found a gun in the car he was driving. He was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. But police learned the vehicle was owned by Jackson, and as part of the investigation, Jackson was charging with evidence tampering for allegedly concealing information about the boyfriend.

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a state trooper was arrested last Friday for stealing heroin from a police barracks for his own use. Corporal Brian Rickard went down after being found in possession of heroin he had taken from the evidence room. He allegedly used heroin both at home and on the job. He tried to cover up the thefts by altering records on work computers. He is charged with obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function, forgery, tampering with records or identification, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, theft by unlawful taking, criminal use of a communication facility, unlawful use of a computer, obtaining possession of controlled substance by misrepresentation or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The Detroit dope squad gets a house cleaning, a San Francisco police sergeant has a bad habit, and more. Let's get to it:

In Detroit, the Detroit police on Tuesday concluded a two-year internal probe into a crooked dope squad. Detroit Police Chief James White said Tuesday that a two-year internal affairs probe into corruption in the departments drug unit known as the Operation Clean Sweep Taskforce has ended and "we're confident we rooted out the problem." The probe found numerous examples of misconduct, including overtime fraud, forgery, false affidavits, and perjury, leading 12 members of the Narcotics Squad to leave the department under investigation. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office is still evaluating whether to bring criminal charges against any squad members.

In San Francisco, a San Francisco police officer was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly robbing a Rite-Aid pharmacy of prescription opioids at gunpoint. Police Sgt. Davin Cole is now on unpaid leave pending an internal investigation. His attorney says he suffers from an opioid addiction "that has ravaged his life." He is charged with robbery in the second degree and resisting arrest for the robbery.

In Minneapolis, a former Minneapolis police officer was convicted last Wednesday of stealing drugs and violating people's civil rights through illegal searches and seizures. Ty Raymond Jindra procured drugs by "not reporting, logging, placing into evidence, or informing his partner or other officers on scene about the controlled substances that he had confiscated," prosecutors told the jury. Drugs he obtained included meth, fentanyl, and oxycodone. Jindra also conducted searches without evidence or warrant, violating the subjects' civil right. He was convicted ofthree counts of acquiring a controlled substance by deception, and two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law and is looking at up to 14 years in prison.

OK Supreme Court Throws Out $465 Million J&J Opioid Settlement, Detroit Dope Squad Probe Ends More... (11/10/21)

Civil rights groups ask for expanded clemency options for federal prisones sent home during the pandemic emergency, an Ohio bill would greatly expand the state's medical marijuana program, and more.

Medical Marijuana

OH Bill Would Allow Medical Marijuana for Any Patient Who Can "Reasonably Be Expected to Benefit" from It. State Sen. Stephen Huffman (R) has filed a bill that would expand qualifying conditions for medical marijuana use to include arthritis, migraines, autism spectrum disorder, spasticity or chronic muscle spasms, hospice care, opioid use disorder, and the open-ended any condition from which a patient could benefit or obtain relief. The measure is Senate Bill 261, and it would also allow curbside pickup and drive-through dispensing, as has been allowed during the coronavirus epidemic. But wait, there's more: The bill would also expand the number of dispensaries to one for every thousand registered patients, up to the first 300,000 patients. After that, additional dispensaries would be added on an as-needed basis. The bill would also triple the maximum size of medical marijuana cultivation sites from 25,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet for large growers and allow small-scale growers to grow up to 20,000 square feet, up from the current 3,000. Huffman said he expects his bill to be sent to the Senate Small Business and Economic Opportunity Committee, with a hearing next week.

Opioids

Oklahoma Supreme Court Throws Out $465 Million Opioid Ruling Against Johnson & Johnson. In a setback for those seeking to hold pharmaceutical manufactures accountable for their role in the opioid crisis, the state Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a 2019 lower court ruling that found Johnson & Johnson liable and ordered it to pay $465 million. That is the second time this month that a court has reversed decisions requiring drug companies to pay for their role in the opioid crisis. A California judge ruled similarly on November 1. In Tuesday's case, the high court rejected the state's contention that the company violated "public nuisance laws," and the two decisions together invalidate a key legal strategy used by plaintiffs in thousands of cases attempting to hold the drug companies responsible. But "public nuisance" laws vary from state to state, so it is not clear how much impact these decisions will have in other states. The state had argued that J & J created a "public nuisance" by aggressively overstating the benefits and downplaying the dangers of their prescription opioids.

Law Enforcement

Detroit Police Conclude Two-Year Probe into Crooked Dope Squad. Detroit Police Chief James White said Tuesday that a two-year internal affairs probe into corruption in the departments drug unit known as the Operation Clean Sweep Taskforce has ended and "we're confident we rooted out the problem." The probe found numerous examples of misconduct, including overtime fraud, forgery, false affidavits, and perjury, leading 12 members of the Narcotics Squad to leave the department under investigation. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office is still evaluating whether to bring criminal charges against any squad members.

Sentencing

Civil Rights Groups Ask White House to Expand Pandemic Clemency. Some 29 civil rights and civil liberties groups have coalesced to ask the White House to broaden a plan to grant clemency to inmates released to home confinement during the coronavirus pandemic. They say the current policy wrongfully excludes people convicted of non-drug-related crimes and people serving long sentences. Some 4,800 federal prisoners were released early because of the pandemic but face a return to prison once the emergency ends if no clemency is granted. The attorney general is on board: "It would be a terrible policy to return these people to prison," Merrick Garland told lawmakers last month, but his Justice Department says it lacks the legal authority to let the prisoners stay at home. The Biden administration is only allowing released inmates to seek clemency if they are low-level non-violent drug offenders with less than four years to serve.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

An illicit marijuana scheme in Maine draws in a prosecutor and several cops, a Raleigh detective gets fired for planting fake drugs on people, and more. Let's get to it:

In Bangor, Maine, a prosecutor and a number of law enforcement personnel were indicted last Wednesday as part of a wide-ranging conspiracy involving illegal marijuana growth and sales that wrapped up a dozen people. Those indicted are accused of collecting over $13 million over six years from weed grown under cover of the state's marijuana law but sold illegally out of state. Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayle Alves, 36, is accused of tipping off a sheriff's deputy about an FBI investigation of the ring, and that deputy, Bradley Scovil, then tipped off the ringleader. Two other officers, then-Oxford County Deputy James McLamb, 29, and Wilton police officer Kevin Lemay, 33, are accused of using government databases to warn ringleaders they were under investigation. A 14-count criminal complaint charges 12 people with a range of criminal conduct, including conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, bank fraud, tampering with proceedings, tampering with documents, conspiracy to defraud the United States and to impede and impair the IRS, tax evasion and tax fraud.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, a Raleigh police detective was fired last Friday after a lawsuit alleging he planted fake heroin on Black men was settled for $2 million. Detective Omar Abdullah used a snitch who delivered drug buy videos and audio recordings with critical clips missing and delivered drugs that lab tests weren't drugs at all. Victims of Abdullah's scheme spent a combined 2.5 years in jail, and while the city has settled the civil suit, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has so far declined to prosecute him.

In Inglewood, California, an Inglewood police officer was arrested last Friday for trying to sell a kilogram of cocaine to a law enforcement informant. Officer John Abel Baca, 45, is accused of delivering cocaine in April and again in May to a cooperating witness. In the latter instance, he allegedly received $22.000 in cash. An informant for Baca was also arrested last week and charged with intent to distribute heroin after FBI agents found a kilogram of heroin and a pound of cocaine buried in his backyard. The informant had been approved since 2016, but never conducted any actual operations. Baca is the police union representative for the Inglewood police.

In Florence, Alabama, a Lauderdale County jail deputy was arrested last Friday for allegedly trying to deliver meth to inmates. Deputy Matthew Moran, 20, went down after a two-week investigation and was busted when another deputy at the jail confiscated a package from him that contained meth. He is charged with attempt to commit a controlled substance crime, distribution of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Florida sheriff's narc resigns after being accused of sexual assault, and more. Let's get to it:

In Stuart, Florida, a Martin County sheriff's narcotics detective resigned Tuesday following a criminal investigation into accusations of sexual assault. Detective Michael Oliver w, a 10-year veteran, went down after the sheriff's heard from the boyfriend of one of Oliver's snitches, who said that Oliver had sexually assaulted her at her home. Investigators from neighboring St. Lucie County found that Oliver deleted text and phone records from that night and lied to detectives about being at her home. GPS records put him there. Although the detectives wanted to arrest Oliver, the local prosecutor declined, saying that because the snitch had a criminal record with seven felonies, more evidence was needed. Martin County prosecutors have had to drop some 40 drug cases in which Oliver was involved. The sheriff said if Oliver had not resigned, he would have been fired for violating departmental policies.

In Media, Pennsylvania, a Delaware County jail guard was arrested last Tuesday on charges she tried to smuggle drugs into the George W. Hill Correctional Facility. Chloe Vadel, 24, went down after investigators were tipped off that she was planning a drug delivery that day. They confronted her with their suspicions and she agreed to a search of her vehicle, which turned up suboxone and possibly synthetic marijuana and marijuana. She is charged with attempting to smuggle drugs into a correctional facility.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A pair of California cops who preyed on motorists gets indicted, a pair of Columbus, Ohio, cops who were peddling fentanyl get arrested, and more. Let's get to it:

In San Francisco, two former Rohnert Park police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury on September 22 for a scheme where they pulled over drivers on US Highway 101 and stole marijuana, cash, and property, allowing the drivers to go if they did not contest the seizures. Former Officers Brendan Jacy Tatum and Joseph Huffaker sometimes pretended to be agents of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. They also drove in unmarked cars without their body cameras and made traffic stops in areas outside their jurisdiction, targeting drivers headed south from California's Emerald Triangle marijuana growing region. Huffaker is charged with extortion under color of law and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of law. Tatum was also accused of tax evasion and falsifying records in the federal investigation. He had $400,000 in unexplained and unreported income in 2016, during the height of their rogue operation. The city of Rohnert Park has already paid out more than one million dollars to settle civil rights lawsuits filed by their victims.

In Leavenworth, Kansas, two former Leavenworth federal prison guards were arrested last Monday and Tuesday on charges they smuggled drugs into the prison. Jacqueline Sifuentes, 25, and Cheyonte Harris, 29, are accused of smuggling methamphetamine, marijuana, and other drugs into the prison, which she then sold to inmates. Harris is charged with conspiring to commit bribery and provide contraband and making false statements to federal agents, while Sifuentes is charged with conspiring to commit bribery and provide contraband, bribery, and providing contraband to an inmate. Harris is looking at up to 10 years in federal prison, while Sifuentes is looking at up to 40.

In Columbus, Ohio, two Columbus police officers were arrested last Wednesday for allegedly peddling pounds of fentanyl. Officers Marco R. Merino, 44, and John J. Kotchkoski, 33, were allegedly involved in the distribution of approximately seven and a half kilograms of fentanyl. Merino also allegedly accepted bribes to protect the transportation of cocaine. According to an affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint, Merino allegedly tried to recruit a confidential informant to traffic drugs with him. Merino allegedly promised law enforcement protection to the individual and said he could intervene if other law enforcement agencies attempted to investigate the confidential informant. Merino is accused of accepting a total of $44,000 in cash in exchange for protecting the safe transport of at least 27 kilograms of cocaine. Unbeknownst to Merino, there was no actual cocaine and each of the transactions was controlled by federal law enforcement. Also, in June and August 2021, Merino allegedly distributed approximately seven and a half kilograms of fentanyl that Kotchkoski provided to him. It is alleged that Merino would make between $60,000 and $80,000 for the sale of the fentanyl. Both are charged with possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, and Merino is also charged with bribery.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

It's all Sunshine State rogue cops this week, with a DEA supervisory agent nailed for helping a major drug dealer and more. Let's get to it:

>In Fort Myers, Florida, a state prison guard pleaded guilty last Wednesday to participating in a plot to smuggle drugs into the prison. Guard Leslie Samuel Spencer, 49, went down in a sting where he agreed to smuggle three ounces of methamphetamine, one ounce of MDMA, a small amount of synthetic marijuana and two cellphones into the prison and give it to an inmate in exchange for a payment of $400. Spencer met with an undercover FBI agent posing as prisoner's family member and accepted the fake drugs, the cellphones, and the cash. He was then arrested. He pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of methamphetamine and MDMA and is looking at up to 20 years in prison.

In Jacksonville, Florida, a former DEA supervisory agent pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking bribes from a major drug dealer to provide information about investigations into a drug ring that stretched from Florida to California. Former DEA Special Agent and Group Supervisor Nation Koen was arrested in 2018 after a drug dealer reached out to him to help get reduced sentences for family members charged in his drug conspiracy case, Koen turned him into a confidential informant, then asked him if he wanted to get "back to work" selling drugs. The dealer did want to go back to work and was soon paying Koen thousands of dollars to help keep his operation free from law enforcement interference. Koen ran the names of the dealer's associates through a DEA database to see if they were informants, warned the dealer when shipments were under surveillance, and helped at least one dealer avoid arrest by telling him the DEA was looking for him. He was originally charged with bribery and drug distribution, which would have had him facing up to life in prison but agreed to a plea deal where he pleaded guilty to one count of bribery, reducing his exposure to just 15 years.

In Fort Myers, Florida, a state prison guard pleaded guilty last Wednesday to participating in a plot to smuggle drugs into the prison. Guard Leslie Samuel Spencer, 49, went down in a sting where he agreed to smuggle three ounces of methamphetamine, one ounce of MDMA, a small amount of synthetic marijuana and two cellphones into the prison and give it to an inmate in exchange for a payment of $400. Spencer met with an undercover FBI agent posing as prisoner's family member and accepted the fake drugs, the cellphones, and the cash. He was then arrested. He pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of methamphetamine and MDMA and is looking at up to 20 years in prison.In Fort Myers, Florida, a state prison guard pleaded guilty last Wednesday to participating in a plot to smuggle drugs into the prison. Guard Leslie Samuel Spencer, 49, went down in a sting where he agreed to smuggle three ounces of methamphetamine, one ounce of MDMA, a small amount of synthetic marijuana and two cellphones into the prison and give it to an inmate in exchange for a payment of $400. Spencer met with an undercover FBI agent posing as prisoner's family member and accepted the fake drugs, the cellphones, and the cash. He was then arrested. He pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of methamphetamine and MDMA and is looking at up to 20 years in prison.

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