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Police Corruption

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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

New York City's finest are at it again, and there's more trouble in the Houston narcotics division. Let's get to it:

In New York City, an NYPD officer was arrested last Wednesday on charges he was part of a Long Island drug ring. Officer Joseph Recca went down as authorities in Suffolk County investigated a fatal overdose last September. The investigation determined that he had sold drugs to the victim, although it's not clear if he sold the drugs that caused the overdose. Recca and two others face drug and conspiracy charges, which could be upgraded to manslaughter if he is linked to the drugs that caused the overdose. He is now a former NYPD officer, having resigned upon his arrest. He's looking at up to 25 years in prison -- and that's without the manslaughter charge.

In Houston, a Houston police narcotics officer was relieved of duty and placed under investigation on July 16. Officer Juan Martinez, a 15-year veteran, is being investigated for "inappropriate conduct related to undercover operations and confidential informants," but officials have not yet provided additional details. Martinez works in the same division that undertook a botched drug raid that led to the death of two innocent homeowners and the wounding of four police officers.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A pair of Chicago cops are headed to prison for their misdeeds, and a trio of prison guards break bad. Let's get to it:

In Henning, Tennessee, a state prison guard was arrested last Sunday for trying to smuggle drugs into the West Tennessee State Penitentiary. Officer Trayvon Lee went down after he arrived at work smelling of marijuana. A subsequent search of his vehicle uncovered 13 ounces of marijuana and ten ounces of tobacco wrapped up in packages in the trunk of the car. He is now charged with introduction of contraband into a penal facility and possession of schedule VI drugs. And he was fired.

In St. Gabriel, Louisiana, a cadet corrections officer was arrested last Monday on charges she tried to smuggle contraband into the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center. Paige Destiny Ruiz, 21, went down after prison officials staked out the prison to watch her try to make a drop and found her carrying a paper bag with six cell phones, 45 pieces of loose-leaf paper sprayed with a substance suspected to be synthetic cannabinoid enclosed in clear bags, a four-ounce clear bottle of a liquid substance suspected of being cough syrup with codeine, 250 pills suspected to be MDMA (ecstasy), three packs of tobacco, 42 Nugenix Total-T testosterone pills, five taped bundles of suspected illicit substances containing 200 grams, and 26 cell phone manuals with activation packages. She also had two cigars in her front pants pocket. She is facing eight counts of introduction of contraband into a penal institution, malfeasance in office, possession with intent to distribute MDMA, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute synthetic cannabinoids, and possession of a firearm while in possession of a controlled substance. She had been on the job less than two months.

In Spokane, Washington, a guard at the Airway Heights Corrections Center was arrested Monday after being caught bringing 15 grams of meth into the prison. Michael Mattern, 45, a 20-year veteran guard was also carrying heroin and suboxone in his lunch box. Mattern went down after inmates ratted him out, and the prison's internal investigations "led to evidence that Mattern has been compromised as a corrections officer and is introducing controlled substances into AHCC's secure facility in exchange for money, drugs and sex." He faces federal drug distribution charges.

In Chicago, a Chicago police officer was sentenced last Wednesday to nearly six years in federal prison for using bogus search warrants to raid homes and steal cash and drugs. Officer David Salgado will now join behind bars his former partner, Sgt. Xavier Elizondo, who was sentenced last month to seven years and three months in the same scheme. Both men were guilty in October of conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. Elizondo was also convicted on one count of attempting to destroy evidence, while Salgado was also found guilty of one count of lying to the FBI. The pair used fake informants to provide false information to judges to get search warrants signed. Their lawless rampage lasted from June 2017 to July 2018 while they were working on a gang crime squad.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Hoo, boy! Highway patrolmen cooking up 'shrooms, district judges tipping off friends and messing up drug investigations, and more. Let's get to it:

In Milpitas, California, a Santa Clara County Sheriff's correctional deputy was arrested last Monday on suspicion of smuggling methamphetamine into the Elmwood Correctional Facility. Deputy Mayra Rios, 35, went down after an "extensive two-month investigation" begun after detectives received information that she was involved in smuggling drugs into the jail. She is charged with possession of meth with intent to distribute.

In Collinsville, Illinois, a State Police trooper was arrested last Friday for allegedly growing and selling magic mushrooms. District 11 Trooper Nolan Morgan, 40, went down after an investigation by the Illinois State Police Division of Internal Investigations received reports of his dealings and discovered more than a half pound of psilocybin mushrooms packaged for delivery. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver and manufacture of a controlled substance, psilocybin mushrooms.

In Denver, a former Colorado state district court judge pleaded guilty July 1 to telling a friend about a large-scale drug trafficking investigation who then tipped off one of the targets. Ryan Kamada, 41, learned from a drug task force officer that he was associated with one of the targets on social media. Kamada then recused himself from the case, but then called a mutual friend and told him to stay away from the suspect, warning that he was under law enforcement surveillance. The friend then told the suspected drug trafficker about the investigation. Kamada pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal task force investigation.

In Charleston, West Virginia, a former Harrison County Sheriff's deputy was sentenced last Wednesday to more than four years in prison for letting his informants keep a portion of drugs purchased in transactions monitored by law enforcement. Timothy Rock allowed at least three informants to keep some of the dope, including some that came from evidence lockers at the sheriff's office. He was convicted on four counts of distribution of heroin.

Nashville to End Small-Time Pot Prosecutions, More Cops Charged in Wake of Fatal Houston Drug Raid, More... (7/2/20)

Drug reform initiative campaigns are handing in signatures as deadlines approach, Nashville's DA says no more petty pot prosecutions, Mexican gunmen kill 24 in a raid on a drug rehab center, and more.

South Dakota's Badlands. Organized opposition to a marijuana legalization initiative has appeared. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative Campaign Turns in Massive Signature Cache. Backers of the Smart and Safe Arizona Act marijuana legalization initiative filed more than 420,000 raw signatures with the secretary of state's office Thursday. It only needs 237,465 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The initiative would allow people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, allow for cultivation, distribution, and retail sales, and use tax revenues from those sales to fund public education and public safety programs.

South Dakota Marijuana Legalization Initiative Draws Organized Opposition. The Amendment A marijuana legalization campaign, which has already qualified for the November ballot, is now drawing organized opposition. A ballot committee calling itself NO Way on Amendment A has been organized to defeat the initiative and is being led by David Own, the president of the state Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The opposition is being joined by the usual suspects, including law enforcement, public officials, and social work leaders.

Nashville to End Small-Time Marijuana Possession Prosecutions. Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk announced Wednesday that his office will no longer prosecute cases involving less than a half-ounce of marijuana. "Effective today, the Nashville District Attorney's office will no longer prosecute individuals for possession of less than a half ounce of marijuana. Marijuana charges do little to promote public health, and even less to promote public safety," Funk said in a statement.

Medical Marijuana

Nebraska Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign Hands in Signatures. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, the group behind the state's proposed medical marijuana initiative, handed in some 182,000 raw voter signatures Thursday. They need at least 121,669 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The campaign must also meet a requirement that at least 5% of voters in at least 38 counties sign up.

Law Enforcement

Houston DA Files New Charges Resulting from Deadly Drug Raid. The investigation into a 2019 Houston drug raid that left two innocent homeowners dead has now resulted charges being filed against six former officers, who are accused of routinely using false information to get search warrants and of lying on police reports, prosecutors announced on Wednesday. Two former members of the unit -- Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant -- had previously been charged in state and federal court in the case, including two counts of felony murder filed in state court against Goines. Those two also got hit with numerous new charges. More than 160 drug convictions tied to Goines have been dismissed by prosecutors. Prosecutors expect more cases will be dismissed.

International

Mexican Cartel Gunmen Attack Drug Rehab Center, Killing 24. In one of the bloodiest attacks yet in the cartel wars, gunmen killed 24 people at a drug treatment center in the central Mexican city of Irapuato on Wednesday. It was the second attack on a rehab center in less than a month; on June 6, 10 were killed in a similar incident. Rival cartels sometimes use the centers as de facto bunk houses for their employees. The region is being flailed by fighting between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Jacksonville narc has some paperwork problems, an Alabama prison guard heads for federal prison, and more. Let's get to it:

In Jacksonville, Florida, a Jacksonville sheriff's detective was arrested last Thursday for falsely filling out forms that document cash, narcotics, or other seized property. Narcotics Detective Bryan Burnett is charged with falsifying documents and official misconduct. At least two forms were falsified, with the amount of money involved under $200. Authorities said the falsifications were not done for monetary gain or Burnett would have been charged with theft.

In York, Pennsylvania, a York County prison guard was arrested Tuesday for plotting to smuggle suboxone into the York County Prison. Officer Joshua Martinez, 31, went down after authorities were informed that he would be getting the drug from an inmate's girlfriend and surveilled him picking up a package from her mailbox. He was then pulled over by state troopers, who found 75 suboxone strips and $2,900 cash. Martinez, the inmates, and the inmate's girlfriend are charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, and contraband. [Ed: Suboxone and methadone in the prisons would be a helpful measure for authorities to take.]

In Mobile, Alabama, a state prison guard was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in federal prison after being convicted of plotting to bring drugs into the Fountain Correctional Facility in Atmore. Guard Wiggins Washington, 52, went down after he agreed to meet with a man he thought was supplying methamphetamine, but who was actually working with authorities, who had been informed about the scheme. Washington pleaded guilty to possess meth with intent to distribute and to carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking charge. That second charge garnered a mandatory minimum five years.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Meet a trio of cops who aren't really corrupt but who got caught with the personal goodies and, of course, a crooked jail guard. Let's get to it:

In Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, a Sierra County sheriff's deputy was arrested May 7 after his supervisor busted him for a meth pipe in his marked patrol unit. Deputy Grant Taylor, 37, now faces a fourth degree felony charge for possession of a controlled substance. The sheriff said he was "heartbroken" and "more importantly, disappointed."

In Tallassee, Alabama, a Tallasee police officer was arrested last Monday after a 10-day investigation into whether he might have some weed. Officer Raymond Clark apparently did have some weed, since he is now charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and second-degree possession of marijuana.

In Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana, a Plaquemines parish jail deputy was arrested last Tuesday after he was searched upon arriving at work and was found in possession of multiple cell phones and synthetic cannabinoids, as well as two firearms in his vehicle. He is facing "multiple narcotics charges." He's out on a $185,000 bond.

In Augusta, Georgia, a Paine College public safety officer was arrested last Wednesday after deputies smelled marijuana coming from his vehicle during a traffic stop. Officer Antonio Burton was in uniform and on-duty at the time and ended up being charged with possession of cocaine after deputies searched the car. No word yet on his employment status.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Just a couple of miscreant men in blue this week, and they were both apparently slinging weed. Let's get to it:

In Las Vegas, a Las Vegas Metro Police officer was arrested last Thursday for slinging weed. Details are lacking, but Officer Jesus Najera, 34, and his brother-in-law are now charged with three counts of conspiracy to violate the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act and one count each of trafficking of THC, trafficking of marijuana and possession of cocaine. Najera has been placed on leave without pay.

In Redding, California, a Redding police officer was arrested Monday in connection with a warehouse filled with marijuana, cocaine, and nearly $60,000 in cash. Corporal Will Williams, 53, went down after a citizen informed authorities of possible illegal activity in a warehouse in an unincorporated area of Shasta County. A search of the warehouse turned up 138 pounds of processed marijuana, 332 marijuana plants, 30 grams of cocaine, two firearms and $59,000 in US currency. Police did not discuss how Williams is connected to the warehouse and they have yet to file criminal charges.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Even during the pandemic, corrupt cops keep going down. A former Ohio DARE officer is in big trouble and so is yet another Baltimore police officer. Let's get to it:

In Baltimore, a Baltimore police officer was arrested April 19 for lying to federal investigators about selling cocaine that had been stolen from a record-setting cocaine seizure in 2009. Victor Rivera, who retired in March after 26 years with the department, is the 15th Baltimore police officer to be charged by federal prosecutors in the continuing reverberations of the Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal. Rivera went down after another officer was charged in that cocaine theft incident last month, and charging documents in that case said he sold cocaine to one of his informants, received profits from him, and divvied them up with two other detectives. He is charged with perjury and is looking at up to 10 years in federal prison.

In Beavercreek, Ohio, a former Beavercreek DARE officer was arrested on April 20 on federal child pornography charges. Kevin Kovacs, 62, worked for the Beavercreek police from 1992 until his resignation in 2018. He was also the Beavercreek schools DARE officer from 2012 until 2018. He is charged with producing, distributing, receiving, transporting, and possessing child pornography, as well as witness tampering.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

In this time of shut downs and social distancing crime is way down. That includes drug-related corrupt police activity. But one vindictive California badge-tarnisher found an innovative way to get in trouble. Let's get to it:

A Ventura County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday for ordering a woman he jailed for suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance to take a drug test, then discarding the test when it came back negative, leaving her to sit in jail for several more hours until a second drug test conducted by another deputy also came up negative. Deputy Richard Barrios, 27, is charged with destroying evidence and filing a false crime report. He's book been booked and released until a June 10 court date.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A US CBP officer gets nailed with cocaine, an American Samoan jail guard gets nailed smuggling meth into the jail, and more. Let's get to it:

In Atlanta, a US Customs and Border Protection officer was arrested Tuesday after getting caught smuggling three bricks of cocaine in his luggage as he landed in Atlanta on a flight from the US Virgin Islands. The as yet unnamed officer was allowed to bypass airport security because of his job status, but drug sniffing dogs found the coke. He faces multiple charges, including possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

In Pago Pago, American Samoa, an American Samoan correctional officer was arrested Wednesday for allegedly helping to smuggle illegal drugs and cell phones into the territory's only jail. Officer Ofisa Enoka Leifi Jr. is charged with unlawful possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of methamphetamine, and concealing an offense.

In Brownsville, Texas, a Cameron County corrections officer was arrested last Thursday for allegedly smuggling marijuana into the County Jail. Officer Ivan Montoya went down after jail guards smelling burning marijuana and he was then snitched out by an inmate as "the officer who had brought in the marijuana." Local media did not report the precise charges.

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