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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Narcs get rowdy at a narc convention and a pair of cops who couldn't keep their paws off the pills. Let's get to it:

In Hyannis, Massachusetts, a group of men attending the New England Narcotics Officers Association is accused by a Cape Cod DJ of twice attacking him at a bar after he tried to non-violently intervene on behalf of a woman being harassed by one of them. The narcs were in town for a convention. Duane Alves, better known as DJ Alvzie filed a report with Barnstable Police after the incident in which he said one of the men dumped a drink on his head, then punched him. The man's comrades joined in the beating. Alves also said that the men then blocked the exits from the bar and attacked him again when he tried to leave. The second attack resulted in serious injuries, including broken bones around his right eye and a damaged nasal cavity. Alves managed to grab a cell phone of his attackers dropped, and Barnstable Police confirmed it belonged to someone who attended the narc-fest, but would not identify the owner. Barnstable Police continue to investigate.

In Napoleonville, Louisiana, a former Assumption Parish sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty May 24 to a whopping 438 malfeasance and drug charges for using seized drugs to feed his own habits. Louis Lambert, 48, had been the evidence room technician for seven years when deputies discovered missing drug case evidence in April 2010. Lambert was arrested in June 2010 and fired and indicted in October. He copped to 336 counts of malfeasance for evidence tampering, 35 counts of pot possession, 24 counts of cocaine possession, 11 counts of prescription drug possession, one count of Oxycodone possession, one count of steroid possession, once count of Alprazolam possession,10 counts of drug paraphernalia possession, 14 counts of possessing a firearm while in possession of illegal drugs, four counts of firearms theft and one count of theft under $300. Charges against about 20 drug suspects had to be dropped because of the missing evidence. He faces up to 1400 years in prison when sentenced July 6.

In Yorkville, Illinois, the Yorkville Police deputy chief was arrested last Friday on charges he stole pain relieving pills from the department's drug collection program.  Deputy Chief Dave Delaney is charged with possession of hydrocodone and theft of government property. Yorkville Police had become suspicious that some of the drugs turned in were missing and contacted the Illinois State Police, who conducted a week-long investigation. They marked some of the hydrocodone pills, then confronted Delaney and found he had several on him. He faces up to three years in prison on each count.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Drug-related police corruption comes in many varieties. We've got several this week. Let's get to it:

In Piscataway, New Jersey, a Piscataway police officer was arrested April 25 on charges he stole cocaine while working as the department's evidence officer. Albert Annuzzi, 47, is charged with one count each of official misconduct-theft by unlawful taking and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors said he took the cocaine for personal use. They did not announce his arrest until last week.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, one Wake County sheriff's deputy has been arrested and another is under investigation for the theft of drugs and cash from the department. Deputy Balinda Manley, 34, was fired after her arrest last month when she was charged with two counts of embezzlement and one count of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. She went down after a routine audit showed that she signed out drugs and $6,435 in cash last June, but didn't return it. When prosecuted requested the evidence for trial, she returned drugs, and then, five days later, what she said was the cash. But when investigators opened the package, they found a pile of blank paper sandwiched between two $100 bills. Investigators found a deposit slip for $1,800 in Manley's care and one for $940 in the car of a second deputy, Chad Hines. He is now under investigation.

In Duanesburg, New York, a University at Albany police investigator was arrested May 16 along with her husband after a search of their property turned up 100 marijuana plants growing in a pole barn. Wendy Knoebel, 48, and her husband face a federal charge of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana. The pair has been released on bail.

In San Leandro, California, a San Leandro Police narcotics officer was arrested last Friday on charges he furnished marijuana to a confidential informant for sale. Detective Jason Fredriksson, 38, allegedly provided more than a pound of pot to the snitch, who planned to sell it, police said. He is also the subject of an internal investigation for having an "improper relationship" with the snitch. He has been on the San Leandro force for nine years, and most recently has been a detective in the vice/narcotics unit and a member of the 14-person SWAT team.

In Phoenix, a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy and two detention officers were arrested Tuesday on drug and human trafficking charges. Deputy Ruben Navarette and detention officers Marcella Hernandez and Sylvia Najera face felony charges. Seven other sheriff’s employees were being investigated for their possible involvement. The three arrested are accused of being part of a Phoenix-based international drug smuggling ring. Hernandez told authorities she is eight months pregnant with the child of the ring's leader, a member of the Sinaloa Cartel. Navarette admitted to passing information about the sheriff’s crime-prevention operations to the group. The deputy also was accused of being part of a separate human trafficking ring that smuggled illegal immigrants from Arizona to California. Deputies found two illegal immigrants when they searched his home. He is also alleged to be an active member of the drug smuggling ring that brought loads of heroin from Mexico to Phoenix. Ten pounds of heroin and nearly $200,000 in cash, weapons, vehicles and stolen property were seized during searches. Hernandez, 28, was found with $16,000 cash when she was arrested Tuesday after arriving for work. She is being held on charges that include transporting drugs and money laundering. Najera is charged with money laundering and controlling a criminal enterprise.

In San Antonio, a former Bexar County sheriff's deputy was sentenced May 19 to six years in prison for trying to smuggle heroin to inmates using barbacoa tacos. Robert Falcon, 48, went down after another deputy found a note in a jail cell with Falcon's address on it that spelled out a smuggling strategy. A sting was set up in which $50 in marked bills, the taco ingredients and 4 grams of fake heroin were left on his doorstep. The fake drugs were recovered from his lunch bag when he arrived at work, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty in November to bringing drugs into a correctional facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Falcon is on suicide watch after he vowed to kill himself if not granted probation.

Another Drug Case Dismissed in Connection with San Francisco Police Misconduct Probe

San Francisco, CA
United States
Another drug case was dismissed in connection with allegations of police misconduct by San Francisco officers. More than 85 cases have been dropped because of a string of videos released by Public Defender Jeff Adachi that he said show misconduct by plainclothes officers performing drug busts at residential hotels in the city. The latest dismissal might not be the last related to the police misconduct allegations. Adachi said last week that the district attorney's office has provided him with a list of 6,900 cases involving officers from the previous videos, which appear to show officers from the Police Department's Southern Station entering rooms without a warrant or consent, contradicting what was written in the officers' reports.
Fox News (US)

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

San Francisco narcs with some explaining to do, a Kentucky sheriff gone wild, a California cop gone rogue, and an Iowa cop with a troublesome cocaine habit. Let's get to it:

In San Francisco, the city public defender is accusing undercover narcotics officers of stealing from suspects. For the second time in a week, Public Defender Jeff Adachi has released surveillance video footage that shows two officers walking into a residential hotel empty handed and leaving with bags that were not booked into evidence. One of the men whose rooms were searched, Jesus Reyes, said he recognized a backpack that was his being carried off. It contained a laptop computer and Sony digital camera. The officers with the bag were identified as Richard Guerrero and Reynaldo Vargas. Guerrero faces similar allegations in another case. Reyes was charged with meth possession, but those charges were dropped when Guerrero did not show up for court after being subpoenaed. SFPD officials said five officers seen on the video had been removed from plainclothes duty. The other three are Jacob Fegan, Christopher Servat, and Adam Kujath. This marks the second time in the past week Adachi has used video footage to allege police conducted illegal searches or stole from suspects. The revelations have prompted the dismissal of nearly a hundred cases and led the FBI to open an investigation. Stay tuned.

In London, Kentucky, the former Whitley County sheriff pleaded guilty last Thursday to extortion, drug, and conspiracy charges for a pattern of conduct that extended throughout his stay in office. In pleading guilty, Lawrence Hodges acknowledged that he had been popping pain pills, ripping off cash from the office, and extorting drug dealers by busting them and then funneling them to a local attorney. Hodges got $50,000 in kickbacks, the sheriff's office got $50,000 in "donations," and the dealers got more lenient treatment. He admitted stealing $64,897 from the sheriff's office, part of which went to buy pain pills. He also admitted looking the other way on drug sales by his favored dealers. Prosecutors are recommending 15-years in prison when he is sentenced in August. Hodges also faces a state court prosecution in which he is charged with stealing $350,000 from his office. He has pleaded not guilty to that charge. He was jailed pending sentencing.

In Eureka, California, a former Eureka police officer was charged April 14 on a raft of counts suggesting he was a rogue officer. Daniel Kalis had been under investigation since January by the Humboldt County district attorney's office, and the Eureka Police initiated their own investigation in March. On March 7, Kalis was placed on leave. He resigned early in April. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance (heroin), unauthorized communication with a prisoner, possession of more than an ounce of marijuana, false imprisonment, possession of controlled substances without a prescription, unauthorized disclosure of motor vehicle records, unauthorized access to a computer network, petty theft, and vandalism. More charges could be pending.

In Muscatine, Iowa, a former Muscatine police officer pleaded guilty last Friday to drug and theft charges. Scott Burk, 48, was arrested last August after an investigation by state and local police. Authorities found cocaine in his vehicle and home, along with missing funds from the Muscatine County Drug Task Force. He pleaded guilty to cocaine possession, a drug tax stamp violation, and second-degree theft charges. He faces a year for the possession charge, and five years each for the other two. He will be sentenced in July. His attorney said Burke is currently in drug treatment and will seek probation.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Texas DA is on the wrong side of the bars, and so is a Kentucky jail guard. Meanwhile, crooked cops in Philly and California's East Bay have their own problems. Let's get to it:

In San Ramon, California, a former Central Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team member was arrested May 4 in an expanding Contra Costa County drug corruption case. San Ramon Police Officer Louis Lombardi is believed to be involved in a corruption case involving the task force commander, a Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy, and a private investigator, all of whom were arrested in March. They are accused, among other things, of stealing and reselling drugs and ginning up false DUI arrests. Lombardi's specific charges include possession of stolen property, including guns, IDs, and drugs; grand theft of weapons, possession of an illegal assault rifle, and conspiracy. At last report, he was in jail with a $760,000 bond.

In Shively, Kentucky, a Bullitt County jail guard was arrested May 5 after being caught with 28 hydrocodone pills, 28 1/2 oxymorphone pills, six doses of anabolic steroids, three syringes, three needles, a gun and ammunition during a traffic stop. Eric Risen, 26, is charged with four counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and disregarding a traffic signal, Shively police said. He was released on his own recognizance and will be arraigned in court early next week.

In Alice, Texas, the former Jim Wells and Brooks County district attorney was sentenced Friday to 180 days in jail for the criminal misuse of asset forfeiture funds. Former DA Joe Frank Garza, 64, must also serve 10 years probation and repay $2 million in funds misappropriated for his personal use. Under Texas law, prosecutors must have the okay of the county commission before spending seized cash on salary increases or the personal benefit of employees, but Garza never bothered to do that with funds seized between 2002 and 2008.

In Philadelphia, two former Philadelphia police officers were sentenced this week in a plot to rip-off drug dealers and resell their heroin. Robert Snyder, 30, got 13 years in prison, while a day earlier, James Venziale got 42 months for his role. They were two of three officers arrested last year in the scheme that also involved Snyder's wife, Cristal, and her sister's drug dealing boyfriend. Venziale got less time because he became a cooperating witness. He testified that he and Snyder got $3,000 each for robbing one dealer. The criminal cops went down in an FBI sting after word of their activities percolated up from the street.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Perverted probation officers, greedy jail guards, and a perjury plot backfires. Let's get to it:

In Portland, Oregon, a former US probation officer pleaded guilty April 28 to coercing sexual favors from female defendants, including drug offenders, under his supervision. Mark John Walker, 52, admitted to violating the victims' constitutional rights to bodily integrity while acting under color of law. In one case, Walker forced the victim to have sex with him against her will when he visited her home as part of his official duties. In other cases, he kissed victims or touched their breasts, buttocks, and inner thighs without their consent. Under the plea agreement, both sides have agreed to recommend a 10-year prison sentence when he is sentenced June 18.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, a Middlesex County Sheriff's Department sergeant was arrested Monday on drug charges after allegedly receiving cocaine from an undercover state trooper. Sgt. Michael Dell'Isola, 51, is charged with trafficking cocaine. He went down after the sheriff's office received an anonymous tip last month and ended up setting up a sting. Dell'Isola, who worked at the Cambridge Jail, took cocaine and $500 cash from the undercover trooper, and was arrested on the spot. The 28-year veteran was being held pending a bail hearing.

In Detroit, a former Inskster police officer was sentenced Tuesday for his role in a perjury scheme in a 2005 cocaine trafficking trial. Robert McArthur was sentenced to 90 days in jail for misdemeanor willful neglect of duty. He could have faced up to life in prison on felony perjury charges, but accepted a plea bargain that includes his testifying next month against one of his co-defendants, retired Wayne County Judge Mary Waterstone. McArthur, Waterstone, another Inkster police officer, and Wayne County's former top drug prosecutor were all charged with perjury for letting a paid police informant testify without revealing that he was a key participant in the operation. Former prosecutor Karen Plants and former Inskter Police Sgt. Scott Rechtzigel have also take plea deals in the case and received short jail sentences. Waterstone has turned down all plea offers and faces trail June 7.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Cops ripping off drug dealers, cops offering information to drug defendants, sheriffs escorting cartel dope loads, and, oh, yes, prison guards gone bad. Here's this week's rogues' gallery:

Prohibition's filthy lucre is hard for some to resist (Image via Wikimedia)
In New York City, a former NYPD officer pleaded guilty Monday to ripping off at least 100 drug dealers with a gang that scored a million dollars in cash and more than 500 pounds of cocaine during its decade-long spree. Emmanuel Tavarez, 31, an eight-year veteran of the force, used his badge, service weapon, and stolen NYPD raid jackets to stage fake searches of drug dealers and seizure of their stashes along with his co-conspirators. Tavarez went down after a lengthy investigation into the robberies. He now faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to robbery conspiracy, conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, and using a firearm in the commission of a crime. A dozen of his co-conspirators have charges pending, including four of his in-laws.

In McAllen, Texas, the former Sullivan City police chief was sentenced April 20 to 10 years in federal prison for his role in protecting Mexican drug traffickers moving two tons of pot through his town. Hernan Guerra, 45, had been arrested at his office last June by FBI agents after they wiretapped his office as part of Operation Deliverance, a massive, nationwide, 430-person bust targeting the cartels. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute drugs. He faced a minimum of seven years and four months in prison, but his sentencing judge gave him some bonus time for being a crooked cop. He's also got four years of probation to do.

In Tallahassee, Florida, a Florida prison guard was arrested April 20 on charges he was scheming to sell drugs to prisoners. Guard Janus Isaiah Edwards went down after an inmate snitched him out and corrections and Leon County Sheriff's investigators set him up with undercover officers. Edwards agreed to smuggle in 100 hydrocodone tablets and 11 grams of cocaine in return for $1,000. He is now charged with introduction of drugs to a prison, unlawful compensation, trafficking in hydrocodone, possession of cocaine, and possession with intent to deliver.

In Lebanon, Tennessee, a Wilson County sheriff's deputy was arrested April 20 for trying to sell information about a federal drug investigation to a target of that investigation in return for $100,000 and a Range Rover. Deputy John Patrick Edwards, 38, had been a member of the FBI's regional drug task force, but lost that gig after being arrested in March on an unrelated theft charge involving his wife and another woman. He was also suspended without pay, leaving him in need of some quick cash. Edwards approached a business partner who knew someone who was a target of the investigation and offered to sell information that could help the target "lessen the blow" and end up with less prison time. But now, Edwards looks to be the one doing prison time; he's looking at 20 years in prison for attempting to obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding.

Mexico Drug War Update

by Bernd Debusmann, Jr.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations make billions each year smuggling drugs into the United States, profiting enormously from the prohibitionist drug policies of the US government. Since Mexican president Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and called the armed forces into the fight against the so-called cartels, prohibition-related violence has killed more than 36,000 people, including more than 15,000 last year. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest or killing of dozens of high-profile drug traffickers have failed to stem the flow of drugs -- or the violence -- whatsoever. The Merida initiative, which provides $1.4 billion over three years for the US to assist the Mexican government with training, equipment and intelligence, has so far failed to make a difference. Here are a few of the latest developments in Mexico's drug war:

The busts keep on coming, but so do the drugs. (Image via
Tuesday,  April 19

In Cadereyrta, Nuevo Leon, 40 police officers were arrested on suspicion of being in collusion with drug trafficking organizations. The troops were taken into custody by soldiers and federal police officers. The arrests left the town with no municipal police officers and only eight transit police officers.

Thursday, April 21

In Durango, at least 41 bodies were discovered in a mass grave located near an auto shop in Las Fuentes. The bodies were badly decomposed, suggesting they had been there for some time.

In Tamaulipas, heavy fighting between rival cartels occurred in the border towns of Miguel Aleman and Ciudad Mier. One gunman was killed, and at least one soldier was killed when the army attempted to intervene. Eleven suspects were taken into custody. The fighting was between the Gulf Cartel and their former enforcers of the Zeta Organization, who were trying to open up the highway from Nuevo Laredo to Miguel Aleman.

Saturday, April 23

In Acapulco, five women all connected to the same beauty parlor were found with their throats slashed. Three of the dead -- including a 14-year old girl -- were found inside the beauty parlor semi-naked and tied up. Two others were found outside. Mexican media later reported that authorities are looking into connections with prostitution rings, and that the area where the murders took place is well-known for criminal activity.

In Mexico City, the dismembered body of a woman was found in the extremely upscale neighborhood of San Miguel Chapultepec. The area is adjacent to Chapultepec Park, home to the presidential residence of Los Pinos. Although cartel violence is rare in Mexico City, the city has seen an increase in crime stemming from battles over retail drug turf. Police are also investigating to see whether the crime is connected to the murders in Acapulco.

In Chihuahua, five men were gunned down as they sat under a tree. Two of the dead were brothers, both aged 25. The incident occurred when two luxury SUVs arrived at the location and a group of gunmen attacked the men. The motive is unknown, but Chihuahua has seen high levels of violence between the Sinaloa and Juarez Cartels.

Sunday, April 25

In Tampico, one person was killed and six wounded in a series of attacks which took place on Easter Sunday. Mexican media reported that most police in the city were busy guarding the tourist areas of the city when the attacks took place. No arrests were made in connection with the incidents.

In Durango, four Torreon, Coahuila police officers were found executed on the banks of the Nazas River near Gomez Palacio. All four were bound and showed signs of having been tortured before being executed.

In Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, children who were playing found a body inside a suitcase in front of a bus stop. Inside the suitcase was the body of a woman, Rosa Sotelo Serna, 39, who had been reported missing by her family a month before.

In Los Mochis, Sinaloa, four men were killed when gunmen attacked a vehicle which took place on the highway between Los Mochis and San Blas. The motive is unknown.

Monday, April 25

In Reynosa, 51 kidnap victims were rescued during an operation by Federal Police. Among those rescued were 6 Chinese citizens, 18 Central Americans, and 27 Mexicans. They were being held captive inside a house in Reynosa.

In Ciudad Juarez, a disabled man in a wheelchair was shot and killed in a convenience store. An 11-year old girl, the daughter of the store manager, was wounded in the incident when she was shot as she helped the disabled man complete his purchases.

In Durango, the director of a state penitentiary was ambushed and killed by heavily armed gunmen.

[Editor's Note: Because El Universal has faltered in its weekly body count postings, we have to rely on our own counts, which most likely undercount the actual death toll. Perhaps at some point this year, the Mexican government will again announce an official toll.]

Total Body Count for the Week: *65

Total Body Count for the Year: 2,274

Total Body Count for 2010: 15,273

Total Body Count for 2009: (approx.) 9,600

Total Body Count for 2008 (approx.): 5,400

Total Body Count for 2007 (approx): 4,300

Total Body Count for Calderon's drug war through 2010: 34,849

Total Body Count for Calderon's drug war to date: 37,123


This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Cops stealing drug money, jail guards smuggling dope, deputies helping traffickers... and narcs gone wild in Peoria. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it.

Prohibition's filthy lucre is too much for some to resist (Image via Wikimedia)
In Edmond, Oklahoma, a former Edmond police officer was arrested earlier this month for allegedly stealing $8,000 in drug bust money from the department evidence room. Benjamin Northcutt, 35, is charged with grand larceny. The cash was seized during a drug raid last August, and Northcutt was in the room when they money was counted and packaged before being placed in an evidence locker. Police videos show that Northcutt entered and exited the evidence room alone 14 times between then and the time the money was discovered missing the next morning. He has denied taking it and is out on $2,000 bail.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a Baton Rouge police officer was arrested April 12 for allegedly stealing about $15,000 in seized drug money. Officer Michael Thompson, 27, admitted that he was strung out on prescription pain pills and took the money to fund his addiction, Baton Rouge police said. Thompson was a five-year veteran of the department and was assigned to the Narcotics Division at the time of his arrest. He resigned from the force shortly after being arrested. He faces seven counts of felony theft and one count of malfeasance in office.

In Peoria, Illinois, three Chicago-area undercover narcs were arrested April 13 after they started fighting with bouncers at a local strip club. The three are members of the Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad who were attending a law enforcement conference when one of them was denied entry to the club because he had no ID. That angered the other officers, and bouncers invited them to leave, prompting one to respond, "Why don't you try and make me?" while another assaulted a bouncer. The club called Peoria police, who arrested them as the brawl spread into the club's parking lot. One narc got two counts of battery, one got one count of battery, and one got one count of battery and one count of criminal trespass. All the offenses are misdemeanors. The suspects remain unnamed because naming them could jeopardize the safety of "ongoing undercover operations," Peoria police said.

In Boston, a Massachusetts corrections officer was arrested Monday for allegedly trying to smuggle heroin to sell to inmates at a medium-security prison in Norfolk. Guard Ronald McGinn Jr., 40, went down after plotting with and sending text messages to an undercover FBI agent about the amounts of drugs he would smuggle into the prison and what he would be paid for his efforts. He was carrying 28 grams of heroin when arrested. He is charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute at a prison. He's looking at up to 20 years in prison.

In Houston, a former Harris County deputy pleaded guilty April 14 to using his position to protect someone in a drug case in return for cash. George Ellington, 38, admitted accessing confidential information from a law enforcement database to protect a person he believed was transporting Ecstasy. He was to receive $500. Instead, he has now pleaded guilty to one count of extortion and is looking at a five-year prison sentence.

In Newark, New Jersey, a former state corrections officer pleaded guilty Monday to charges he fronted a complex contraband-smuggling ring that included heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and cell phones. Luis Roman admitted making thousands of dollars in a scheme involving 35 other people. He pleaded guilty to racketeering and official misconduct charges for running smuggling rings at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel and then at Northern State Prison in Newark. He's looking at 14 years in prison. Sixteen prisoners and 18 others have also been indicted in the scheme, and five have so far pleaded guilty.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A typical corrupt cops week: Missing evidence, corruption on the border, greedy jail guards, and thuggish dope squad cops. Let's get to it:

The profits of prohibition tempt law enforcement. (Image via
In Asheville, North Carolina, drugs, guns, and cash are missing from the Asheville Police Department evidence room. Auditors began investigating after the long-time evidence room manger resigned, and so far, they say they cannot account for 30 packets of cash, 27 guns, and 54 containers of drugs. Last month, they discovered that 400 oxycodone tablets were gone, too. The investigation continues, but the missing evidence could derail a number of criminal cases.

In Yuma, Arizona, a US Border Patrol agent was arrested April 5 after being caught by coworkers with hundreds of pounds of marijuana in his patrol vehicle. Agent Michael Atondo was nailed with 745 pounds of pot after Border Patrol agents found his vehicle backed up against the fence that marks US-Mexico border with its rear door open. Two Jeep Cherokees were parked on the Mexican side of the border, and two people in Mexico jumped into them and sped away. Atondo told the other agents he was pursuing two other people, but the agents could see no one else was there, and when they stopped his vehicle, they found neatly stacked bundles of marijuana inside it. He faces a federal charge ofpossession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. At last report, he had been freed pending trial.

In New York City, a New York prison guard was arrested April 5 for allegedly agreeing to help an inmate escape in return for cash and three kilos of cocaine. Guard Robert Whitfield, 48, a 20-year Rikers Island veteran went down in a sting after plotting the drugs-for-escape scheme on the phone with what turned out to be a DEA agent.

In Chicago, four current and former Chicago police officers were charged April 7 with shaking down drug dealers and lying on the witness stand. Former Special Operations Section officers Jerome Finnigan and Keith Herrera are charged in the robbery scheme, which netted hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Officer Eric Olsen and former Officer Stephen DelBosque are charged with civil rights violation misdemeanors for lying about drug arrests. Finnigan, who is described as the ringleader, has been in federal custody since 2007, when he was charged with plotting to kill a fellow officer he thought was cooperating with the feds. In that case, Herrera wore the wire that recorded the murder-for-hire scheme. Finnigan and Herrera are each charged with one felony count of civil-rights conspiracy and one count of filing a false income-tax return.

In Laredo, Texas, a former Laredo police officer was sentenced Monday to 25 years in federal prison for escorting drug smugglers while on the force. Orlando Jesus Hale was convicted last September of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute it. He and another police officer, Pedro Martinez III, were hired by undercover federal agents posing as drug traffickers in a sting in which they thought they were escorting 20-kilo loads of cocaine across Laredo in 2008. The pair were paid $1,000 for each escort. Hale got 20 years on the drug charge and another five for carrying his firearm while he escorted the load. Martinez, who testified against Hale, has not yet been sentenced.

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