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Police Corruption

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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.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Northern California town pays big-time for some reefer-stealing rogue officers, a New York City narc gets a little too drunk for his own good, and more. Lete's get to it:

In New York City, an NYPD narcotics officers was arrested Friday after drunkenly harassing a women, punching a bartender, fighting with a security guard, and shooting his gun inside a Williamsburg bar. Officer Steven Abreu, 31, now faces a charge of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, menacing, criminal mischief and harassment." He's been freed on supervised release.

In Rocky Ford, Colorado, a Rocky Ford police officer was arrested Tuesday for allegedly trying to sell marijuana that he had seized. Officer James Lopez, 56, had seized the marijuana, but instead of turning it in, took it to a friend's house and packaged it for sell. He faces charges of distribution of a controlled substance and official misconduct.

In Rohnert Park, California, the Rohnert Park Police Department agreed to a $1.5 million settlement to a set of drivers who had marijuana unlawfully seized from them by a group of rogue Rohnert Park police officers. The pay-out settles eight different lawsuits from drivers who claimed the officers robbed them out cash and marijuana. The officers were led by former drug enforcement partners Brandon “Jacy” Tatum and Joseph Huffaker, who stopped drivers on US Highway 101 far outside of the city limits. Those two officers have escaped any criminal charges, but are no longer with the department.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A former DEA agent gets popped for helping a Colombian drug trafficker, a former Atlanta-area drug task force member goes to federal prison for stealing and reselling drugs from drug busts, and more. Let's get to it:

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, a former DEA special agent was arrested last Friday on charges he used cash seized during undercover drug operations to buy luxury goods, including jewelry, cars, and a house in Cartagena, Colombia, and engaged in money laundering with a Colombian drug trafficker. He is charged with conspiracy to launder money, honest services wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft and aggravated identity theft. His wife, who was also arrested, is charged with conspiracy to launder money. His charging indictment accuses him of "engaging in a corrupt scheme" and "enriching himself by secretly using his position and his special access to information to divert drug proceeds from DEA control to the control of himself and his co-conspirators."

In Cincinnati, a Cincinnati police officer was arrested last Friday on charges she outed an undercover officer to a nightclub owner targeted in a money laundering and drug trafficking investigation, as well as concealing $81,000 in off-duty income. Officer Quianna Campbell, 39, is charged with lying to federal agents and filing false income tax returns.

In North Charleston, South Carolina, a former North Charleston narcotics detective was arrested Tuesday officials said they found he provided information about another agency's investigations to a person involved in drug activity. Brett Bull, 33, allegedly sent text messages to that person, alerting him to drug operations being planned by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office and warning him to "stay away." He is charged withmisconduct in office and obstruction in connection to the incident.

In Atlanta, a former Gwinnet County drug task force member was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison for stealing drugs off the street and then selling them. Antione Riggins, 41, pleaded guilty late last year to drug trafficking He admitted seizing narcotics, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and oxycodone, while creating documents to try to cover up his tracks. In one case, he seized three pounds of cocaine from a high-speed crash, but only logged one into the evidence room. In another incident, Riggins was tasked with transporting 13 pounds of meth from an Atlanta hotel to the evidence room. None of the meth made it there. Three days after that 2017 incident, Riggins made off with more than eight pounds of heroin that were supposed to go to the evidence room.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More prison guards break bad, an Ohio trooper's pill habit got the best of him, an ongoing Paterson, NJ, police corruption scandal snares another cop, and more. Let's get to it:

In Hazard, Kentucky, a Perry County sheriff's deputy was arrested January 1 during a traffic stop and charged with trying to smuggle drugs into the jail. Deputy Shannon Adams, 42, went down after jail staff monitoring inmate phone calls heard incriminating information and contacted the local drug task force. Local reporting did not make clear precisely which criminal charges he faces.

In Mansfield, Ohio, a former Highway Patrol trooper was arrested January 7 for stealing pain pills. Preston Brooks, 33, went down after an internal investigation found he had mishandled "seized prescription drugs" and lied about it. He is charged with theft of drugs and tampering with evidence.

In Paterson, New Jersey, a Paterson police officer was arrested last Tuesday in an ongoing corruption probe that has already scooped up seven other Paterson police officers. Sgt. Michael Cheff participated in stealing money and drugs from suspects along with the other officers, and was charged in a case where police illegally searched a vehicle and arrested a man, then went to his home and lied to his mother to gain consent for a search. He found a safe with $2,700 and took it, divvying some of it up to other officers involved. He is charged with conspiring to violate the civil rights of an individual and with falsifying a corresponding police report.

In Moberly, Missouri, a state prison guard was arrested Saturday for sneaking synthetic cannabinoids and tobacco into the prison where he worked. Guard Timothy Davis, 23, went down after investigators searched his car in the parking lot of the Moberly Correctional Center found 174 grams of synthetic cannabinoids and several unopened bags of tobacco. He is charged with delivery of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

In New York City, six Rikers Island prison guards were arrested Monday for allegedly smuggling drugs into the jail. They were among 21 people indicted in a scheme to import and distribute marijuana, synthetic marijuana (K2) and the narcotic suboxone into jail facilities on the island since early 2019. The indicted guards were Queens residents Darrington James, 30, Patrick Legerme, 29, and Aldrin Livingston, 31; Brooklyn's Michael Murray, 28, and Christopher Walker, 28; and Bellport, NY resident Angel Rodriguez, 23. According to the charges, each of them allegedly accepted thousands of dollars in bribes to get the contraband items past security checkpoints.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A pervy Florida cops heads to prison, a New Mexico narc is in trouble for sampling forbidden substances, a Virginia narc pays for outing snitches to drug traffickers, and more.

In Roswell, New Mexico, a former Roswell narcotics officer was arrested December 19 after an investigation that began when detectives found a white powdery substance in his home and at a hotel where he stayed. Gerald Juarez eventually admitted to deputies that he had been using cocaine for about a month and had now been charged with cocaine possession and evidence tampering.

In Wilsonville, Oregon, a state women's prison guard was arrested December 23 for allegedly smuggling heroin, meth, and other drugs into the prison. Guard Richard Steven Alberts II, 31, was arrested by federal agents along with a co-defendant who was already in custody on separate charges. Both are charged with conspiring with one another and other, unnamed individuals to distribute controlled substances and distribution of heroin stemming from a federal investigation that is ongoing.

In Muscogee, Georgia, a state juvenile detention guard was arrested December 24 after an early morning raid at the detention center turned up drugs. Guard Darrion Tarver, 28, is accused of bringing enough marijuana into Muscogee Youth Development Campus to distribute it, although the particular charges he faces were not specified. He was fired following his arrest.

In Jackson, Georgia, a Monroe County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday in neighboring Butler County following an investigation by authorities there. Details of what went down are hard to come by, but Deputy Paul Nicholas Stewart is charged with possessing controlled substances with the intent to distribute and using a communication facility in the commission of a felony involving a controlled substance.

In Edgefield, South Carolina, a state prison guard was arrested last Friday for smuggling drugs and other contraband into the Trenton Correctional Institute. Guard Kembria Merriweather, 24, is accused of providing cell phones and methamphetamine to an inmate with whom she had developed an intimate relationship. She is charged with distribution of methamphetamine, providing contraband to an inmate and misconduct in office.

In Hampton, Virginia, a former Hampton narcotics officer pleaded guilty December 19 to working with local drug dealers while he was part of the Special Investigations Unit of the Hampton Police. Deangelo Freeman, 31, admitted providing information about a federal criminal investigation to one dealer even as he was on the team investigating him, including disclosing the identity of a snitch. He copped to conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and is looking at a mandatory minimum five-year federal prison sentence.

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a former Miccosukee police officer was sentenced December 18 to 10 years in prison for forcing a teenage couple to strip and run naked through the Everglades after he busted them with alcohol and marijuana. Michael Martinez, 30, pulled the young couple over in 2016 after they ran a stop and told them follow him down an isolated road where he ordered them to take their clothes off and run, or go to jail. The teens testified they thought they had no choice but to follow his orders. He also tried to solicit sex from the teenage girl. He was found guilty of two counts each of extortion and unlawful compensation.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Tennessee deputy goes on a bizarre crime spree, a California cop gets busted for the fondling the breasts of a dead overdose victim, and more. Let's get to it:

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, a Hamilton County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Tuesday on 44 criminal charges, including 25 felonies, for actions he took in the course of official duties. Deputy Daniel Wilkey faces charges of rape, extortion, stalking and assault. In one case, he found a woman in possession of a small amount of marijuana. He offered not to arrest her if she would would allow him to baptize her in his underwear. The woman said she felt she had no choice but to agree, so she went with him into the lake, where he stripped to his underwear and submerged her in the lake with his hands on her back and her breasts. He is charged with stalking, assault, extortion, and false imprisonment in that case. In another case, he faces felony rape and misdemeanor assault charges for performing a body cavity search on a black motorist he pulled over.

In Los Angeles, an LAPD officer was arrested last Thursday for allegedly fondling the breasts of a woman who had died of a drug overdose. Officer David Rojas, 27, allegedly "touched the woman's breast" when alone with the body while on the October 20 call. He was arrested by LAPD's Internal Affairs Division after it reviewed his body camera footage. He is charged with one felony count of having sexual contact with human remains.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, a state prison guard was arrested Monday on charges he smuggled marijuana into the prison. Jordan Davis, 22, was charged with one felony count of furnishing, possession or delivering prohibited articles. He got caught trying to smuggle 12 grams of marijuana and 17 grams of tobacco that were wrapped in plastic and hidden inside his pants.

In New York City, a former NYPD sergeant pleaded guilty November 27 to running drugs for the notorious Nine Trey Blood gang. Ex-cop Arlicia Robinson admitted transporting more than 100 grams of heroin from the Bronx to Manhattan last July. Robinson was indicted in November 2018 on three narcotics counts. It's not clear from the reporting which one she copped to.

Chronicle AM: NJ MJ Referendum Set to Advance, Dirty Detroit Narcs, MA Pot Vaping Resumes, More... (12/13/19)

Italy legalizes hemp and CBD products, Trinidad and Tobago moves toward marijuana decrim, New Jersey legislators are busy on two fronts, and more.

New Jersey legislators are making progress on two different fronts this week. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Senators Demand Update from DEA On Marijuana Growing Applications. A group of Democratic senators led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have sent a letter to the DEA, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP -- the drug czar's office), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding that they provide an update on efforts to expand the number of authorized marijuana grows for research purposes. The letter notes that DEA announced more than three years ago that it would begin approving additional research grows, but has yet to issue any new licenses. The agency says the volume of new applications requires that it develop alternate rules before issuing any new licenses.

Massachusetts Pot Shops Okayed to Resume Sales of Some Vaping Products. The state's Cannabis Control Commission has amended a November ban on marijuana vaping products, now allowing stores to sell them but only if they are manufactured after this date and have been tested for contaminants.

New Jersey Legislature Holds Hearing on Marijuana Referendum. Legalization supporters outnumbered foes Thursday as the legislature held hearings in both chambers on whether to put a constitutional amendment on the November 2020 ballot letting voters decide on whether to free the weed. Votes on the measure are expected in both houses on Monday.

Expungement

New Jersey Drug Expungement Bill Headed for Monday Vote. After an Assembly committee passed a bill, A-5981, Thursday without hearing any testimony, the measure heads for floor votes in both houses on Monday. The bill would make it easier for people to rid their records of minor drug and other offenses. Under its "clean slate" provision, all prior non-serious crimes could be sealed after a decade, while those involving smalltime marijuana or hashish possession could be expunged immediately. For minor drug offenses that occur after the bill is passed, a judge would immediately remove them from a person's record.

Foreign Policy

Senate Committee Passes Resolution for Sanctions Against Philippine Officials Involved in Imprisonment of Drug War Critic Sen. Leila de Lima. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved the Free Leila resolution (Senate Resolution 142), which calls for the applications of sanctions under the Magnitsky Act against Philippines officials responsible for "orchestrating the arrest and prolonged detention" of Filipina drug war critic Sen. Leila de Lima. The resolution also calls for sanctions against members of the security forces and Philippine officials responsible for extrajudicial killings during President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody drug war. The resolution is non-binding but signals strong revulsion toward the behavior of the Duterte government.

Law Enforcement

Detroit Narcs Accused of Corrupt Policing. A raid on the Detroit Police Department's narcotics unit in August has uncovered dirty dealing there. Investigators have found a half-dozen instances of narcs stealing money from alleged drug dealers and two where drugs were planted on suspects. One former narc was arrested the day of the raid on federal charges he took bribes from a drug dealer, and Chief James Craig said he's looking at the unit that the officer was assigned to. "Sadly, as we continue our probe, we think it's going to grow in terms of magnitude," Craig said.

International

Italy Legalizes Hemp, CBD Products. Parliament this week legalized the production and sale of cannabis products containing less than 0.5% THC. The law will go into effect January 1. Former rightist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had vowed to shut down shops selling what the Italians call "cannabis light," but now parliament has thwarted that effort.

Trinidad and Tobago Lawmakers Approve Marijuana Decriminalization Bill. The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill that would decriminalize the possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana. People caught with more than 30 but less than 60 grams would pay a fixed fine. The bill would also allow for the personal cultivation of up to four plants and provide a pathway for expungement of previous small-time marijuana offenses. The bill now heads for a Senate vote later this month. But it also contains provisions that would impose new penalties against possession and distribution of other substances, such as LSD, MDMA and ketamine.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A West Virginia narc goes down for stealing heroin from the evidence room and giving it to his snitches, a New Jersey federal prison guard gets caught in a years-long smuggling scheme, and more. Let's get to it:

In Houston, a Harris County Sheriff's Office detention officer was arrested Sunday on a variety of drug charges. Officer Jason Flores, 19, came to work in possession of methamphetamine and Xanax and is now charged with five felonies, including manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and possession of a prohibited substance in a correctional facility.

In Newark, New Jersey, a federal prison guard pleaded guilty last Thursday to taking cash bribes to smuggle drugs to prisoners at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix. Paul Anton Wright, 34, admitted smuggling tobacco, synthetic cannabinoids, and suboxone into the prison for four years and also admitted taking as much as $50,000 in bribes, which he agreed to forfeit as part of his plea agreement. He'll be sentenced in February.

In Clarksburg, West Virginia, a former Harrison County sheriff's deputy was convicted last Friday of distributing heroin to confidential informants. Timothy Rock, 41, who worked for the department's Street Crimes and Drugs Unit, had already been found guilty in state court on 18 counts related to falsifying documents to cover up his theft of heroin from the evidence room to provide to his informants, but then was indicted on the federal charges. At trial, he was convicted of four counts of distribution of heroin. He's looking at up to 20 years in prison on each of the heroin counts.

 

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