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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 28,000 people, the government reported this month. The increasing militarization of the drug war and the arrest 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:

Thursday, August 5

In Ciudad Juarez, eleven people were killed in various incidents across the city. In one case, a 20-year old woman was shot dead as she walked with a 4-year old girl, who escaped unscathed. In another incident, an apparent extortionist was shot and killed after a shoot-out with security guards. Drug trafficking organizations across Mexico are also involved in extortion.

Friday, August 6

In Matamoros, at least 14 inmates were killed during a clash between rival gangs inside the prison. Troops from the Mexican army were eventually sent into the facility to restore order. It is unclear which groups participated in the fighting, but much of the recent violence in the Matamoros area been the result of fighting between the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas Organization.

Saturday, August 7

In Mexico City, thousands of journalists marched to protest the killings and disappearances of journalists due to prohibition-related violence in the country. Similar protests were planned in Sinaloa and Chihuahua. Over 60 Mexican journalists have been killed since 2000. This year, the Committee to Protect Journalists says that 10 journalists have been killed, and many face daily threats to their lives and harassment.

Sunday, August 8

In Ciudad Juarez, over 200 armed federal police officers raided the hotel where their commander, Salomon Alarcon,  was staying. After blocking off the streets to prevent his escape, they detained Alarcon at gunpoint, accusing him of having planted drugs on officers to force them to become involved in extortion plots. The officers found weapons and drugs in his hotel room. The officer was held captive until the Federal Police Commissioner General agreed to suspend him pending a full investigation into the allegations. It was later found that Alarcon was on the payroll of the Sinaloa Cartel.

Also in Ciudad Juarez, two federal police officers were shot dead as they walked in plainclothes through the center of the city at night. A large police operation was immediately launched, but no arrests or confrontations occurred.

In Palomas, Chihuahua, three severed heads were discovered in the main plaza as locals left Sunday mass. A charred SUV with the headless bodies was discovered south of the town. A note left with the bodies indicate that the victims were extortionists who were killed by a rival criminal organization. Last October, the mayor of Palomas was kidnapped and found murdered.

Monday, August 9

At a forum in Puerto Vallarta, Mexican authorities said that drug-trafficking organizations pay an estimated $100 million in bribes monthly to municipal police officials. According to Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna, this estimate is based on officer perceptions and on a list of payouts to police officers that was seized during recent operations. He also said that 20% of municipal police officers make less than $79 a month, and 60% make less than $317 a month.

In Morelos, seven people were killed in prohibition-related violence. Among the dead were three men who were decapitated in the town of Ahuatepec. In Ciudad Juarez, police discovered the dismembered body of an officer.

Tuesday, August 10

In Morelos, 10-12 heavily armed men ambushed a police convoy carrying a high-profile prisoner to jail. Two officers and the prisoner were killed in the ambush. Mario Alberto Chavez Traconi, 54, was known as the King of Fraud. The ambush occurred after the police convoy was cut off by SUV's and the gunmen attacked the police officers with assault rifles.

Total Body Count for the Week: 146

Total Body Count for the Year: 6,994

Read the previous Mexico Drug War Update here.


This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

If we can't keep drugs out of the prisons, how can we keep them out of the country?
In Oklahoma City, an Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) agent was arrested Tuesday by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents in a scheme authorities said was shipping weapons to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. OBN Agent Francisco Javier Reyes Luna, 29, faces two counts of providing false statements in violation of federal guns laws and one count of providing a restricted weapon to a person not licensed to own it for using a straw purchaser to buy five AK-47 semi-automatic rifles from a gun shop and for giving a .50 caliber Barrett semi-automatic rifle to an unknown individual. He may be facing more charges, if the federal complaint is any indication. He's out on $25,000 bail right now.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, one man was released from prison and another had charges dropped in a police corruption scandal that continues to fester. So far, 14 people have been freed from prison or had charges dropped in the scandal in which six former and current police officers have been charged in federal court with offenses including drug conspiracy, perjury, witness tampering and civil rights violations. Two men, former Tulsa Police officer John Gray and former US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent Brandon McFadden have already pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors. Gray admitted to lying on search warrant affidavits in the case of Hugo Gutierrez, who was released from federal prison last Friday. Gray also admitted stealing $10,000 from Gutierrez when he arrested him. Charges against Deon White were dropped July 29. His case is one of 53 associated with undercover Tulsa Police Officer Jeff Henderson, who was indicted July 20 on 58 counts of drug conspiracy, perjury, witness tampering and civil rights violations, federal court records show. The Tulsa World is keeping track of it all here.

In Austin, Texas, a former Austin police officer went on trial Tuesday for having sex with a hooker while on duty and paying her with drugs. Scott Michael Lando faces charges of prostitution, delivery of a controlled substance, misuse of official information, and aggravated assault by a public servant for a series of incidents dating back to May 2006. This trial only deals with four prostitution counts and will feature the hooker, who will testify that Lando gave her drugs and other items in return for sex. Prosecutors already told the court Lando had access to drug dealers and got drugs from them. The state will decide later whether to move forward on the other counts.

In Barboursville, West Virginia, a Western Regional Jail guard was arrested August 3 after getting caught in a sting by authorities. Nathaniel Shawn Johnson, 22, went down after the West Virginia State Police got a tip that he was bringing drugs and tobacco into the jail. They then used an undercover officer, who paid Johnson $300 after he agreed to buy and deliver Oxycontin and tobacco to the jail. He is charged with conspiracy and bringing a weapon onto jail grounds (he had a .22 rifle in his pickup).

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More crooked prison and jail guards get busted, another sticky-fingered cop goes down, so does a Rio Grande Valley lawman, a former California Highway Patrol trooper is in big, big trouble, and a small-town Texas police force has troubles in the dope squad. Let's get to it:

evidence room of opportunity
In Pharr, Texas, a former Pharr Police officer was indicted July 29 on charges he escorted carloads of cocaine through Pharr in his police cruiser. Former Officer Jaime Baes, 33, is allegedly the nephew of a high-ranking member of the Mexican Zetas and he is also accused of being part of a weapons smuggling operation that sent military-grade bulletproof vests, guns, and grenades stolen from a Corpus Christi naval base south of the border.

In Anchorage, Alaska, a state prison guard was arrested July 29 as part of a major drug trafficking conspiracy that smuggled cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and syringes into the Anchorage jail and distributed them to inmates for sale. Patrick Sherman, 46, was one of nine people indicted by a federal grand jury in the scheme that involved drugs smuggled in coolers and money laundered in Central America. Sherman faces a drug trafficking conspiracy charge. He is out on $10,000 bond.

In Felicity, Ohio, a Felicity police officer was arrested on July 30 for allegedly stealing drug and property evidence he seized during arrests, but which never made it to the evidence room. Captain Delmas Pack, 42, a 16-year veteran of the department, is charged with tampering with evidence and is looking at up to five years in prison. He went down after a sting conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies. He's now out on bond.

In Graceville, Florida, two guards at the Graceville Correctional Facility were arrested July 30 for allegedly attempting to smuggle marijuana and cell phones into the prison. Guard Tyler Daniels, 24, is charged with two counts of conspiracy to introduce contraband into a secure facility and attempt to introduce contraband into a secure facility. Guard Mathew Crawford, 23, is charged with conspiracy to introduce contraband into a secure facility. The pair went down after someone snitched them out to a local drug task force, which set up a sting on Daniels, who was doing the actual smuggling. Crawford was charged for helping Daniels bypass metal detectors and searches when the pair arrived at the prison for work. They are currently suspended from Graceville Correctional pending resolution of their cases.

In Auburn, California, a former California Highway Patrol officer pleaded not guilty July 30 to solicitation of murder for trying to pay $10,000 to get a police informant killed. Ruben Salgado, 37, had been arrested in May on methamphetamine sales and gun charges and allegedly tried to arrange for the killing of the snitch who sold him meth that month. He has been held without bail since he was arrested July 14 on the solicitation charge. The 12-year veteran resigned from the department in June.

In Mt. Pleasant, Texas, three Mt. Pleasant police officers are on leave and one has been arrested following a federal investigation. All three worked in the department's dope squad. The officer arrested, Joshua Hatfield, is accused of selling a firearm and ammunition to an illegal alien and a person indicted for a felony. The other two officers have not been named. The US Attorney's Office said it cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.

"Murder City," by Border Cognoscenti Charles Bowden (BOOK REVIEW)

"Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields," by Charles Bowden (2010, Nation Books, 320 pp., $27.50 HB)

by Phillip S. Smith, Writer/Editor

Last Saturday, Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande River from El Paso, marked a grim milestone: its 6,000th murder victim since the beginning of 2008. The discovery of 10 bodies that day pushed the beleaguered city past that marker, but the week -- still only half-done as I write these words -- held more gore. On Wednesday, two headless bodies appeared propped up against the wall of building. The heads sat atop upended ice chests in front of them. Writing on the ice chests claimed that one of the men was a carjacker and the other a kidnapper and extortionist, and that both were members of the Aztecas, a street gang that peddles dope and acts as neighborhood enforcers for the Juarez Cartel.

Gruesome photographs of the death scene ran in the Mexican press -- there is a longstanding tabloid press there that positively revels in full-color photos of murder victims, car accident fatalities, burned bodies -- but, according to Charles Bowden, it is almost a certainty that we will never hear another word about them, that we will never know why they had to die so horribly, that no one will ever be arrested for their deaths, that we will never even learn their names.

And Charles Bowden should know. He's probably forgotten more about Ciudad Juarez than most journalists writing about the city ever knew. The poet laureate of the American Southwest, Bowden has been living and writing about the border for decades, and with "Murder City" he is at the peak of his powers.

"Murder City" is beautiful and horrifying, not just for the exemplary violence it chronicles, but even more so for the portrait it paints of Juarez as a community stunned and staggering, hit hard by the vicissitudes of the global economy, the corruption of the Mexican state, and the wealth and violence generated by the trade in prohibited drugs.  It is non-fiction, but reads like a surrealist fever dream.

We learn of Miss Sinaloa, an achingly gorgeous, white-skinned beauty queen, who turns up raving mad at "the crazy place," a desert shelter for the mentally ill, the homeless, the glue- or paint-destroyed kids. Turns out she had come to the city and been invited to a weeklong, whiskey- and cocaine-fueled party at a motel where she was gang-raped for days by eight Juarez policemen. Miss Sinaloa weighs on Bowden, a witness to the city's violence and depredations, its ugly degradation. She's gone now, taken back home by her Sinaloa family, but there's always another one, he writes.

We learn of reporters killed by the military. We learn about other reporters' poor salaries and about how their real pay comes in envelopes from shadowy men, and they know it means they will not write about certain things. We learn of one reporter who inadvertently crossed the military in 2005 and had to flee to the US border for his life when the military came looking for him three years later. He sought political asylum. What he got was imprisoned for seven months until a Tucson civil rights lawyer managed to spring him.

As Bowden notes:

"It is possible to see his imprisonment as simply the normal by-product of bureaucratic blindness and indifference. But I don't think that is true. No Mexican reporter has ever been given political asylum, because if the US government honestly faced facts, it would have to admit that Mexico is not a society that respects human rights. Just as the United States would be hard-pressed, if it faced facts, to explain to its own citizens how it can justify giving the Mexican army $1.4 billion under Plan Merida, a piece of black humor that is supposed to fight the war on drugs. But then the American press is the chorus in this comedy since it continues to report that the Mexican army is in a war to the death with the drug cartels. There are two errors in these accounts. One is simple: The war in Mexico is for drugs and the enormous money to be made by supplying American habits, a torrent of cash that the army, the police, the government, and the cartels all lust for. Second, the Mexican army is a government-financed criminal organization, a fact most Mexicans learn as children."

Bowden writes about a Ciudad Juarez policewoman taken away by the military and raped for three days. Bowden writes about the military patrol sitting yards away from a drug treatment center where armed assailants shoot the place up for 15 minutes, leaving eight dead. Bowden writes about how the press describes convoys of killers as "armed commandos" dressed in uniforms and says that's code for military death squads.

Remember those two headless gentlemen in the first paragraph? This is why we will never learn anything more about them. The reporters are scared for their lives. Bowden writes about the "narco-tombs," safe houses where victims are tortured and killed, then buried on the grounds. The exhumation of the bodies takes place with great fanfare, but the forensic scientist doesn't want her name used or her face shown, and then the bodies just vanish. Poof! They are never identified, no one knows where they went, no one knows why they died, no one knows who killed them.

Bowden writes about El Sicario, the former state policeman/cartel assassin, who talks with professional pride about kidnapping, torturing, and killing hundreds of people. Now, El Sicario is afraid. The killers are after him, and he has fled his former hunting grounds. And what is even more disturbing for the reader is El Sicario's statement that he doesn't even know which cartel he was working for. In the cell-like structure in which he operated, he knew only his boss, not the boss's boss, or even who the boss's boss was. El Sicario killed for phantoms.

But what is really terrifying is that El Sicario is being chased by "a death machine with no apparent driver," a web of hidden complicities where the cartels are the military are the police are the government, nobody knows who anybody really is, and the dead become evil by virtue of having been killed.

We can blame the cartels (or, obversely, drug prohibition), we can blame street gangs, mass poverty, uprooted families migrating to the city for jobs that have now vanished, corrupt cops, corrupt governments, but the violence may now have escaped any good explanation, Bowden writes. As the Mexican state fails to suppress the violence (at least in part because it is committing a great part of it, the killings are establishing "not a new structure but rather a pattern, and this pattern functionally has no top or bottom, no center or edge, no boss or obedient servant. Think of something like the ocean, a fluid thing without king and court, boss and cartel... Violence courses through Juarez like a ceaseless wind, and we insist it is a battle between cartels, or between the state and the drug world, or between the army and the forces of darkness. But consider this possibility: Violence is now woven into the very fabric of the community, and has no single cause and no single motive and no on-off button."

Absolutely chilling stuff, and absolutely brilliant. Bowden turns prose into poetry, and he provides an understanding of Juarez and its woes that hits you at the visceral level. "Murder City" will give you nightmares, but it's worth it.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A sleazy federal probation officer gets indicted, a bunch more cops get arrested, and two big city East Coast dirty cops head for the slammer. Let's get to it:

too much cash can corrupt cops
In Portland, Oregon, a former federal probation officer was indicted July 21 on charges he sexually abused female offenders who were under his direct supervision and that he then obstructed a later investigation to cover up his misconduct. Mark John Walker, 51, faces an eight-count indictment, including three felony counts of deprivation of civil rights by aggravated sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of engaging in sexual contact, one count of making a false statement to the FBI, one count of intimidating and threatening a witness, and one count of falsifying a record to obstruct an investigation. He faces up to life in prison on the civil rights counts. Authorities said his victims were probationers with histories of sexual abuse, mental illness, and drug addiction.

In Eunice, Louisiana, a Eunice police officer was arrested July 21 along with three other people accused of doctor-shopping for pills and them selling them on the street. Officer Raymond Trahan, Jr., was allegedly caught in the act of peddling pills by narcotics officers. He is also accused of protecting the group from police. In the scheme, one suspect would go to Houston to procure pills from different doctors, then return with them to Louisiana, where the others would sell them. They got popped with $6,000 worth of Adderall, Xanax, and Soma.

In Downers Grove, Illinois, a Downers Grove police officer was arrested July 22 for conspiring with another man to stop suspected drug dealers and rip them off. Officer Randy Caudill, 34, faces two felony counts of official misconduct for allegedly using police computers to verify the license plate numbers of suspected drug dealers and offering tips to his co-conspirator about possible targets to hit. Caudill was jailed on $200,000 at last word. He faces up to five years in prison.

In Milwaukee, two Milwaukee police officers were arrested over the weekend after being snared in a federal sting. Sgt. Royce Lockett is accused of helping a supposed dealer supposedly carrying more than 500 grams of cocaine transport it after the dealer's vehicle broke down. He faces up to 40 years in prison. Officer Paul Hill is accused of helping to conceal the proceeds of an alleged drug deal and faces up to 20 years in prison.

In Philadelphia, a former Philadelphia police officer was sentenced last Friday to 15 years in federal prison for drug dealing and conspiring to rob an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer. Alhinde Weems, 34, and a five-year veteran, dealt drugs before becoming an officer and continued to do so while in uniform. He was arrested in March 2009 carrying his police-issue weapon as he went to rob the supposed drug dealer and pleaded guilty in January to drug and firearms charges. He could have gotten life in prison.

In New York City, a former NYPD officer was sentenced last Friday to 12 ½ years in federal prison for dealing multiple kilograms of cocaine and ripping off the competition. Juan Acosta had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, extortion under color of official right, and unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime. For four years beginning in 2005, Acosta peddled coke with a civilian drug dealer, and in one incident, used an NYPD car to rob a drug dealer of several hundred thousand dollars, making it seem as if the money had been seized by law enforcement. Acosta and his buddy went down after getting snared in a sting in October 2009 and agreeing to provide protection for a 10-kilogram shipment of what was supposed to be cocaine. Acosta made the run, got paid $15,000 by a federal "cooperating witness," then went to jail.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More bad apples in the Big Apple, a major drug corruption scandal brews in Tulsa, the city of Oakland pays big for bad cops, a Georgia deputy cops a plea, and a South Carolina state trooper goes down. Let's get to it:

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, five current and former Tulsa police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday in an ongoing probe into drug corruption in the Tulsa Police Department. Officers Jeff Henderson, 37, and Bill Yelton, 49, were indicted together in a 61-count indictment alleging myriad drug trafficking and conspiracy offenses, with Henderson named in 58 counts and Yelton in seven. Retired Officer Harold Wells, 59, was separately indicted on 10 counts that include conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Officer Nick DeBruin, 37, was charged with six counts, including crack cocaine distribution and conspiracy to steal money. Officer Bruce Bonham, 52, was indicted on five counts including crack cocaine and methamphetamine distribution and conspiracy to steal US government funds. Henderson and Yelton face one count of threatening a former federal agent, Brandon McFadden, at gunpoint. McFadden has already pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge and is cooperating with prosecutors. He admitted that he, Henderson, and other officer stole drugs and money, falsified reports, and perjured themselves. He also admitted that he and Henderson framed a father and daughter with a fake drug buy in 2007. That pair are among 11 people who were either released from prison or had prosecutions dropped because they were framed by Tulsa police. They are not through digging up the dirt in Tulsa -- prosecutors said more indictments could be coming soon.

In Oakland, California, the Oakland City Council voted Tuesday night to pay $6.5 million to more than a hundred people whose homes were searched by police officers who obtained search warrants by providing false information to judges. The payouts bring an end to two federal lawsuits filed by people who claimed a group of officers had lied on search warrant affidavits by saying seized substances had been confirmed by police laboratories as drugs, when no such tests had occurred. The city agreed to the settlement "to avoid the risk of an adverse verdict should this matter proceed to trial," wrote City Attorney John Russo in a document submitted to the council. The city fired four officers in connection with the case, but allowed seven others to keep their jobs after they argued they had been poorly trained or inadequately supervised.

In New York City, two NYPD officers were indicted July 15 for lying to cover up unlawful stops, searches, and seizures in Manhattan. NYPD Sgt. William Eiseman, 41, a 13-year veteran of the force, and Officer Michael Carsey, 29, are charged with perjury, offering a false instrument for filing, and official misconduct. Prosecutors portrayed Eiseman as a "renegade" who routinely stopped people for no justifiable reason, searched their vehicles, then arrested them when he found drugs or weapons. In one case, Eiseman and Casey unlawfully searched a van, testifying they smelled marijuana smoke and that the driver later told them he had drugs and weapons in his apartment. In fact, said prosecutors, the pair only learned of drugs by seizing the man's cell phone and looking at photos on it. They also lied in the search warrant application for the man's apartment. The pair have been released on bail. They face up to seven years in prison for perjury and up to four years on the false instrument charges.

In Atlanta, a former Fulton County sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to taking bribes to protect what he thought were drug dealers. Anthony Atwater, 33, is accused of providing protection for two different 500 kilogram loads of cocaine, but the people he was protecting it for turned out to be undercover FBI agents. Atwater got $4,000 for protecting the "dealers" during two drug transactions in January and March and was arrested in April. He originally faced five felony corruption, drugs, and gun charges, but ended up pleading to attempting to aid and abet the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, as well as bribery. He's looking at up to 20 years for corruption and up to 40 years on the drug count.

In Conway, South Carolina, a South Carolina Highway Patrol officer was arrested last Friday night on felony drug charges. Lance Cpl. Bobby Lee Spurgeon is charged with manufacturing, distribution or possession of a schedule II product, cocaine or a cocaine derivative. He made $10,000 bail on Saturday. He has been fired from the Highway Patrol. No further details were available.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

In Philadelphia, three Philadelphia police officers were charged Tuesday with plotting to rip off 300 grams of heroin from a drug dealer and then sell it to another drug dealer. The problem was that the intended recipient was actually an undercover DEA agent. Officers Robert Snyder, 30; Mark Williams, 27; and James Venziale, 32, are charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and related counts. Four other people, including Snyder's wife Christal and three alleged drug dealers are also charged. The plot began when Venziale met with a drug dealer in April and discussed a rip-off plan in which police would stage a vehicle stop to make it seem the drugs were being seized by law enforcement. The actual rip-off went down on May 14, when Williams and Venziale pulled over a vehicle occupied by the plotting drug dealer and an undercover agent. They pretended to arrest the drug dealer, then let the undercover agent drive off with the heroin. Later, they met up with the dealer, who paid them $6,000 for their work, as well as paying Christal Synder an unknown sum.

too much drug cash can corrupt cops
In Springfield, Tennessee, a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper was arrested Monday night as he delivered illegal prescription drugs to a female acquaintance. Trooper Cesar Maldonado, 36, faces one felony count of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance. He was caught delivering a quantity of Dilaudid to a woman waiting at the Springfield Inn. He is now on administrative leave and faces termination. He made $12,500 bond Tuesday morning.

In Morganton, North Carolina, a Caldwell County probation officer was arrested July 8 after being caught illegally delivering prescription pills. James Franklin, 44, is charged with felony trafficking in drugs, opiates by possession. He went down after a five-week investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation that ended with him delivering 120 hydrocodone tablets to an undercover officer. Bail was set at $100,000.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Pennsylvania parole officer was charged July 8 with trying to extort a parolee into stealing cash from a drug dealer's home and giving him the money. Paul Dschuhan, 44, is also accused of threatening to kill the parolee if he told authorities about the plot. Dschuhan is also a former state trooper. He faces federal charges.

In Williamsburg, Kentucky, a former Williamsburg police officer pleaded guilty July 8 to being a participant in a drug ring that peddled 10,000 Oxycontin tablets and burglarizing a pharmacy to score more. Kenneth Nighbert, 32, copped to a federal conspiracy charge and now faces up to 20 years in prison. He admitted to using his police cruiser to go to a pharmacy in February 2006, removing electrical meters in a bid to disable the alarm system, helping another man hook a chain to his SUV to pull the doors out of the pharmacy, and then stealing drugs. Nighbert resigned from the force in April 2006 after running into a woman's car in his cruiser while under the influence of drugs. He was arrested in Laurel County in May 2007 carrying a police badge, a loaded pistol, Oxycontin tablets, and $32,000 in cash, which he admitted he planned to use to pay drug debts and buy more pills. He's already done state jail time for that arrest.

In Roanoke, Virginia, a former Pulaski and Radford police officer pleaded guilty July 8 to federal charges he sold and used methamphetamine in his patrol car while in uniform and on duty. Christopher Bond, 32, copped to conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Federal prosecutors alleged that Bond smoked meth in his patrol car with other users and at the homes of other users while in uniform, and that he bought large quantities of meth with other users. He faces a mandatory minimum five-year sentence and up to 40 years. He's free on $100,000 bond until his October 4 sentencing date.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Texas cop hangs with meth dealers, a Utah cop rips-off the drug buy money, and a Florida trooper has the DEA on his case. Let's get to it:

In Moab, Utah, a former Moab police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail and probation for stealing cash from the department. Edward Guerrero, 43, was charged with third-degree felony burglary and Class A misdemeanor theft for stealing about $900 from two envelopes stored in the office of a police lieutenant. The funds were to be used to make drug buys. Guerrero pleaded guilty last month to the theft count, and the burglary charge was dropped. He could have faced up to a year in jail, but instead will do just a month, with two years of probation. He also has to pay a $958 fine.

In Kemp, Texas, a Kemp police officer was arrested June 30 for stealing property from the department, exchanging it for drugs, and providing protection for local meth dealers in return for product, which he sold. Officer Damon Smith, 34, is currently charged with two counts of abuse of official capacity, but officials said more charges are pending. At last report, Smith was being held in the Kaufman County Law Enforcement Center and was awaiting a bail hearing.

In West Palm Beach, Florida, a Florida Highway Patrol trooper has been put on administrative duty while he is being investigated by the DEA. Trooper Gary Bach has not been arrested and officials would not provide details about the nature of the allegations against him. Bach has been on administrative duty since mid-May.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Virginia sheriff is under investigation for dipping into asset forfeiture funds, a Dallas-area narc's credibility is under question, a small-town Missouri cop gets caught buying coke to replace coke he pilfered, and, of course, two more jail or prison guards get busted. Let's get to it:

In Chesapeake, Virginia, the Middlesex County sheriff is under investigation for embezzlement. Last week, investigators filed search warrants for two bank accounts, one a personal account for Sheriff Guy Abbott; the other, the sheriff's asset forfeiture account. Investigators said they found evidence to support allegations of embezzlement and misuse of county and state funds. No charges have yet been filed.

In Garland, Texas, a Dallas County judge last Friday threw out two drug indictments after coworkers challenged the credibility of former Garland narcotics Detective Dennis Morrow. Two co-workers and a police supervisor testified that Morrow lied in police reports to strengthen his cases and that the lies were part of a pattern of behavior by Morrow.

In Winfield, Missouri, a Winfield police officer fired last month was charged June 17 with evidence tampering and theft of evidence for stealing cocaine and marijuana from the department's evidence room. Former officer Bud Chrum's career unraveled last month when he and his brother were arrested as they attempted to buy cocaine to replace some of what Chrum had stolen from the department. During the arrest, police seized two evidence envelopes from Chrum's vehicle. According to court documents, the evidence bags were supposed to contain a black pipe and marijuana and cocaine. At the police chief's request, the Missouri Highway Patrol is now investigating departmental evidence-handling policies and procedures.

In Atlanta, a Fulton county sheriff's deputy was arrested Wednesday for allegedly bringing marijuana into the Fulton County Jail to sell to inmates. Deputy Raheim Lowery, 30, was arrested when caught with pot as he arrived for work on the night shift. He is charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and crossing the guard lines of a jail with prohibited items. He is now an inmate in the jail and will be fired Friday, the sheriff's office said. He was a probationary employee hired in December.

In La Tuna, Texas, a guard at the Federal Corrections Institution there was arrested June 16, accused of smuggling heroin into the facility. Guard Randy Smith, 28, went down in a sting after agreeing to smuggle an ounce of smack into the prison in exchange for $5,000. He was arrested after taking money and heroin from an undercover federal agent.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

And the beat goes on: A Phoenix cop gets busted for robbing drug couriers, a Texas deputy gets nailed for selling smack to prisoners, a Louisiana deputy goes down on hundreds of counts, and a former NYPD narc heads for federal prison. Let's get to it:

In Phoenix, Arizona, a Phoenix police officer was arrested June 10 for allegedly robbing drug couriers of their cash. Officer James Wren, 23, faces four felony counts including conspiracy, attempted theft, attempted money laundering, and being a public servant participating in a criminal syndicate. Wren went down after a snitch told Avondale police Wren was stealing money from drug couriers while on duty. Police set up a sting and arrested Wren as he attempted to steal $40,000 in what he thought was drug money. Wren has reportedly confessed his involvement in two other cases as well. He has now resigned from the department.

In San Antonio, Texas, a Bexar County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday for selling heroin to inmates at the county jail. Deputy Robert Falcon, 48, a 20-year-veteran, is charged with possession of heroin and intent to deliver heroin. Falcon went down after someone snitched him out and authorities set up a sting, delivering drugs to Falcon while on duty. He took them and some cash and then was arrested. Falcon is still at the Bexar County Jail, only now he's wearing an inmate's garb, not a jailer's. He's looking at up to 20 years in prison.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an Assumption Parish sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday on hundreds of counts of evidence tampering, drug offenses, and weapons violations. Deputy Louis Lambert, 47, faces 538 counts of malfeasance in office, 17 counts of illegally carrying a weapon while possessing narcotics, and one count of possession with intent to distribute a Schedule I narcotic. Authorities have released no more details. Oops -- Lambert is now a former deputy. He was fired after being arrested.

In New York City, a former NYPD detective was sentenced June 10 to 15 years in federal prison for helping to protect a cocaine dealing organization from the law. Luis Batista, 37, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and obstruction of justice. Batista befriended a major cocaine dealer shortly after joining the force as an undercover narcotics officer in 1997 and for years warned him of impending police actions and provided him with information from law enforcement data bases. When the dealer got busted in 2006, he ratted out Batista. Batista then persuaded a member of the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau to access a secure database and give him details of a report on his relationship with the dealer. He used his knowledge from that report to falsely claim the dealer was a confidential informant for him.

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