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Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More prison guards are in trouble. A Louisiana cop gets busted for pills -- corruption or desperation? Let's get to it:

In Tallahassee, Florida, a Florida Department of Corrections officer was arrested last Friday on drug and other charges. Officer Terrance Ruffen, 31, faces charges of tampering with evidence and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. He was arrested after Gadsden County sheriff's deputies raided a home in Quincy in an investigation of crack cocaine sales there.

In Shreveport, Louisiana, a Shreveport police officer was arrested Tuesday on drug charges. Sgt. Thomas Morgan, a supervisor in the Uniformed Services Division, faces four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. Morgan, 39, went down after Shreveport narcotics officers received a complaint a week ago that he was illegally obtaining prescription medications. He is on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation. (Is this corruption, or desperation? Hard to tell without more facts.)

In Elkhart, Indiana, an Elkhart County corrections officer was arrested Monday for taking home drugs seized from a prisoner after a visit. Mario Randle, 35, allegedly searched the inmate after a visit, finding a modified screwdriver containing at least two illegal drugs. Police said Randle did not report the incident, but instead took the items with him when his shift ended. He faces felony counts of drug trafficking and official misconduct and is looking at up to three years in prison. He has been fired.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

One of California's top narcs gets busted for peddling Cialis, another Florida cop goes to prison, and a pair of Florida prison guards gets popped for the usual. Let's get to it:

In Long Beach, California, one of California's top narcs was arrested Saturday for selling prescription erectile dysfunction pills to undercover police. Special Agent Henry Kim, supervisor of the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement anti-gang team in Los Angeles, had advertised Cialis pills for sale on the Craigslist web site. Long Beach undercover officers responded to the ad, agreed to buy 50 pills for $250, and then arrested Kim when he met them to do the deal Saturday morning. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance for sale and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. But by Tuesday, prosecutors had downgraded the charges to four misdemeanor counts: dispensing drugs without a license, prescribing a controlled substance, unlawfully prescribing dangerous drugs without a prescribing physician, and unlawfully using dangerous drugs without a prescription. Kim has been released on his own recognizance pending trial. He is on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal affairs investigation.

In Hollywood, Florida, a fourth Hollywood police officer has been sent to prison for running drugs for supposed drug traffickers. Former Sgt. Jeffry Courtney was sentenced last Friday to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to heroin trafficking conspiracy charges. He accepted at least $22,000 to guard purported heroin shipments for New York mobsters, but the mobsters turned out to be FBI agents. Courtney is the fourth Hollywood Police Department officer to be sent to prison in the sting, known as Tarnished Bronze. A fifth is set to be sentenced in October for lying to FBI agents about letting word of the sting leak out.

In Naples, Florida, two Florida prison guards were arrested August 8 for arranging to smuggle cocaine to a prisoner. Guards Jawaan Rice, 21, and Modeste Pierre, 18, are charged with cocaine trafficking, smuggling a controlled substance into a correctional facility, and prison employee receiving a bribe. The pair, who were trainees hired in June, went down after prison officials overheard Rice and an inmate conspiring to bring a large quantity of coke into the prison. The prisoner turned informant and arranged a cocaine delivery with Rice and Pierre. An undercover police officer made the delivery and the subsequent arrests. The pair have been fired.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The charges pile up against a pair of former Virginia police chiefs, a Cleveland DEA agent has some explaining to do, and so does a Houston crime lab tech who didn't follow procedures and wouldn't take a drug test. Let's get to it:

In Houston, more than 200 drug cases are in jeopardy after a lab technician is accused of "failing to properly secure drug evidence." It's only the latest scandal for the city's troubled crime lab, which has been under scrutiny for the past five years over faulty DNA testing that sent people to prison, the drug and alcohol testing division being shut down after its director failed a proficiency test, and evidence from thousands of cases being improperly stored in the evidence rooms. In the latest blow, the Houston Police Department announced Tuesday that lab tech James Carpenter had been relieved of duty with pay. Carpenter, who worked in the drug lab since 2002, had been recently warned about missing work, and investigators sought him out last week after receiving reports that he "was not handling evidence in compliance with lab protocols." When Carpenter refused to give a formal statement or submit to a drug test, he was suspended. Now, all his work for the past six months -- some 200 drug cases -- is under review.

In Richmond, Virginia, two former Southwest Virginia police chiefs already facing charges were arrested again last week on new drug charges. Former Damascus Police Chief Anthony Steven Richardson was charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs, obstruction of justice, possession of drugs and possession of firearms. Richardson, 40, already faced seven felony counts from June, including distributing methamphetamine. Former Chilhowie Police chief Dwayne Sheffield was charged with distribution of drugs, child abuse/neglect and conspiracy to distribute drugs. Sheffield, 37, already faced charges from May of committing sex crimes against a 17-year-old girl during a Halloween haunted house that raised money for sexual assault victims. The new charges resulted from an investigation by state, local, and federal law enforcement officials, and officials said the drugs involved were mainly methamphetamine and marijuana. Sheffield's wife, Nancy, was also charged with drug distribution, conspiracy, and child abuse/neglect.

In Cleveland, a DEA agent is under scrutiny after one of his informants admitted sending dozens of people to prison with false testimony. Informant Jerrell Bray told authorities in May he had made up testimony and lied on the witness stand in numerous cases, resulting in the dropping of charges in two cases and the release of one prisoner so far. Many more could come. DEA Agent Lee Lucas, who has a reputation as gung-ho drug fighter, is Bray's handler. The testimony of both Bray and Lucas in numerous drug cases is being challenged. Look for more to come out in coming weeks and months on this one.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

This week we have a pair from the US-Mexico border, where temptation is always close at hand, and a pair from Florida, where corruption seems to thrive in the steamy atmosphere. Let's get to it:

In El Paso, a Customs and Border Patrol agent was arrested July 27 for allegedly letting more than a ton of marijuana into the country. CBP Officer Margarita Crispin is charged with one count of conspiracy to import a controlled substance. According to the indictment, she conspired with others from 2003 to this year to let truck loads get by border checkpoints. She was jailed awaiting a bond hearing at last report.

In Miami Beach, a city parking enforcement officer was arrested last weekend on drug sales charges. Enforcement Officer Elio Espinosa allegedly sold three bags of drugs to an informant. He is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a school.

In Tucson, three former National Guardsmen were sentenced to prison last week for conspiring to run drugs for traffickers. They are only the latest of the more than three dozen current and former police and military personnel ensnared in Operation Lively Green, an FBI sting where agents posed as traffickers and enlisted the help of law enforcement and military personnel to move drug shipments. Demian Castillo, a former recruiter for the Tucson Army National Guard, got two years for accepting $14,000 to run two drug loads in 2002. Former Guard member Sheldon Anderson got 10 months for helping out on a single drug run. Former Guardsman Mario Quintana got two years for helping out on two loads. All three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official.

In Hollywood, Florida, a fifth Hollywood police officer has now pleaded guilty in an FBI sting operation. Former Hollywood Police Lt. Charles Roberts pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement when he told investigators he knew nothing about an undercover FBI sting. The sting, known as Operation Tarnished Badge, targeted Hollywood police officers who were agreeable to transporting heroin for people they believed to be drug dealers but who were actually FBI agents. It was shut down early after word of its existence leaked out. Three officers have been sentenced to prison for their roles in drug transportation conspiracies, and a fourth awaits sentencing this month. Roberts faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced in October.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A Michigan narc is accused of making off with a whole bunch of blow, an Alabama juvenile probation officer is accused of snitching for the bad guys, a Massachusetts trooper takes a plea in a pain pill ring, and a Missouri cop goes to prison for ripping off drug couriers. Let's get to it:

In Detroit, a Detroit narcotics officer was suspended July 19 for allegedly stealing 13.2 pounds (six kilograms) of uncut cocaine from the department's evidence room. Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings did not identify the officer, saying he had not yet been charged with a crime, but she did say he had access to the evidence room and was suspected of replacing the coke with another substance. The stolen dope was valued at $2.4 million, she added.

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a juvenile court probation officer is accused of taking bribes in exchange for tip-offs on police activities. Fayette County Juvenile Court Probation Officer Denny Driver, 37, was charged with one count of bribery Tuesday. Officials were tight-lipped about what Driver allegedly told to whom, but he was arrested after an investigation by Fayette County Sheriff Rodney Ingle, Fayette Police Investigator Ronald Stough and Drug Task Force agent Mark Allison. Driver has now been fired and awaits an August 13 preliminary hearing.

In Worcester, Massachusetts, a state trooper pleaded not guilty July 19 to charges related to his role in an Oxycontin ring. Trooper Mark Lemieux, 49, a former member of the Bristol County District Attorney's Drug Task Force, is accused of conspiring with his ex-partner in the state police, his live-in girlfriend, and a hired gun to distribute the popular pain reliever from June 2006 to May 2007. He was a task force member from 2002 until December 2006. Lemieux and crew went down after a supplier they had contacted got busted and agreed to wear a wire. Charging documents say police have Lemieux twice picking up money from the dealer while in uniform and in an unmarked police car.

In St. Louis, a former suburban St. Louis police sergeant got four years in federal prison July 20 for his role in a cocaine conspiracy. Former Hillsdale Sgt. Christopher Cornell, 45, was indicted along with five other St. Louis-area men is what prosecutors called a conspiracy to distribute cocaine throughout the metropolitan area. Members of the group confessed to plotting to rip-off low-level drug runners by arranging for shipments to pass through Hillsdale, where Cornell would pull them over and take their drugs. He copped to one count of use of a communication device to facilitate a felony.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Bad cops, bad cops, whatcha gonna do? A New York City cop helps drug dealers rip off other drug dealers, a North Carolina cop builds a really impressive bad cop resume, a former North Carolina sheriff can't account for much of his evidence, and an Indiana cop gets a slap on the wrist for stealing from a drug suspect. Let's get to it:

In New York City, an NYPD officer faces federal drug conspiracy charges for allegedly helping a gang of drug dealers rip off other drug dealers. Officer Darren Moonan was arrested July 8 on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and conspiracy to commit robberies of drugs and drug money over a seven-month period beginning last December. Moonan and his five fellow co-conspirators allegedly netted at least $810,000 in cash and 200 pounds of marijuana in its robberies of competing drug dealers. Moonan is also accused of using his badge to avoid searches and driving stolen drug money away from the scenes of the crimes. He faces up to 60 years in prison.

In Edenton, North Carolina, an Edenton police officer was arrested July 10 for planting drug evidence on innocent people. Officer Michael Aaron Davidson was charged with altering evidence in a criminal investigation for repeatedly planting crack pipes on a man he arrested when a member of the Kinston Police Department back in 2000. Davidson was investigated but never arrested, and left the Kinston department during the initial investigation. According to the SBI, Davidson has been investigated numerous times over allegations of missing money, excessive use of force, and planting evidence (three other times). He was also investigated but not charged in a case where more than $2,000 in seized drug cash went missing. Davidson only went down now because another Edenton cop, Police Officer Nichole Gardner, got busted on Oxycontin charges and decided to mention that she had seen Davidson planting evidence.

In Asheville, North Carolina, a criminal investigation is underway into evidence handling in the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office after an audit showed that cash, guns, and drugs had gone missing. Former Sheriff Bobby Medford, who was in office for 12 years, is in the hot seat over either sloppy or crooked evidence handling during his tenure. According to an audit, at least $217,000 in seized cash could not be accounted for, nor could 337 firearms. In addition, marijuana, cocaine, and pills listed on 1,138 evidence entry sheets have gone missing.

In Evansville, Indiana, a former Evansville Police officer has been sentenced for stealing money from a drug suspect. Former officer Gerald Rainey, a highly decorated veteran, was charged in April after admitting to stealing money from a backpack seized during the arrest of a suspect on an outstanding drug warrant. He plea-bargained to one count of theft and was sentenced July 13 to 18 months probation and 80 hours of community service. The felony conviction means Rainey will not be able to work again as a police officer.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The allure of Oxycontin (and its profits) snags two cops, a deputy can't keep his paws off the meth, and a South Carolina cop gets charged with drug dealing. Just another week in the drug war. Let's get to it:

In Louisville, Kentucky, a Lebanon Junction police sergeant was arrested June 25 on charges he planned to sell Oxycontin. Sgt. Daniel Carr, 33, and his girlfriend were both arrested by DEA agents on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute the popular narcotic pain reliever. Federal officials said the arrests came after a months-long investigation that resulted in several purchases of the drug from an informant, culminating with a final buy attempt that ended with the pair going to jail. Carr, a career law enforcement officer, was fired immediately upon arrest. He and his girlfriend face up to 20 years in federal prison.

In Newark, New Jersey, a former Newark narc was sentenced to nearly seven years in federal prison June 26 for his role in an Oyxcontin distribution ring. John Fernandez, 37, pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiring to possess the drug with the intent to distribute. According to federal officials, Hernandez sold more than 3,000 of the pills between September 2004 and September 2005. His defense attorney said Hernandez got the pills legally for injuries suffered on the job, but was persuaded to sell them by another Newark police officer who has also been charged in the case, but has been cooperating with authorities. Hernandez must report to federal prison by July 23.

In Deming, New Mexico, a former Luna County sheriff's deputy got a year's probation for stealing methamphetamine from a motorist. Former Deputy Tommy Salas pleaded guilty June 25 to a misdemeanor count of attempted possession of meth after being arrested in July 2006 for taking the dope off a driver at a traffic stop, but failing to log it in. Salas, who had been on leave since his arrest, resigned his position July 2 as part of the plea agreement, with his attorney saying "he needs to move on."

In Lake City, South Carolina, a Lake City police officer was charged July 2 with drug trafficking and other offenses. Officer Shanita McKnight, 34, went down after an investigation by the FBI, the State Law Enforcement Division, and the Florence County Sheriff's Office. She is also charged with extortion, and faces from 10 years to life in prison on the drug counts. Little other information has been forthcoming.

Coast leaders now blame police for the escalating drug menace

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (Kenya)

Latin America: Mexico Purges Federal Police Chiefs in Drug Corruption Review

The Mexican government announced Monday it has replaced the federal police chiefs in all 31 states and the Federal District to determine whether they are fighting drug trafficking or abetting it. The move comes as President Felipe Calderón is now six-months into an offensive against the powerful and violent so-called cartels that has seen more than 20,000 soldiers and police swarm into cities and states considered hotbeds of the drug trade.

The 32 purged chiefs must submit to and pass polygraph and drug tests before being reconsidered for their positions. Their financial status will also be scrutinized. If they pass muster, they must be retrained before being reassigned.

Drug prohibition-related corruption has been the bane of Mexican law enforcement for decades. Now, once again, a purge of police is viewed as necessary by high officials. Just last month, six federal police officers were arrested for protecting cocaine shipments at the Mexicali airport.

"Every federal cop is obliged to carry out his post with legality, honesty and efficiency," Public Safety Secretary Genaro García Luna said at a news conference Monday announcing the housecleaning. "In the fight against crime, we have strategies. One axis of our strategy is to professionalize and purge our police corps."

Nearly 7,000 of Mexico's 20,000 federal police, who investigate drug crimes and homicides, have been assigned to work alongside the more than 12,000 soldiers deployed in Calderón's war on drugs. That police are working side by side with soldiers has raised concerns that they could be undercutting Calderón's campaign by passing information on to the drug traffickers.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Busy, busy. A Virginia police chief gets caught selling speed, a New Jersey State Trooper gets arrested for stealing and re-selling seized drugs, a New Jersey prison guard gets nailed trying to smuggle prescription drugs into the prison, a former Schenectady narc pleads guilty to ripping off cocaine from the evidence locker, a former Border Patrol agent is going to prison for stealing a bale of pot he was supposed to be guarding, and a corrupt Milwaukee cop wants back pay. Let's get to it:

In Damascus, Virginia, the police chief was arrested Saturday on charges he was selling methamphetamine. Chief Anthony Richardson faces seven felony counts of drug distribution and possessing a weapon while possessing drugs. He went down after an undercover investigation where a snitch bought speed off the chief on June 12. Richardson was arrested without incident at the city police department. Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said there is now a federal investigation into Richardson.

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, a state trooper was indicted and arrested June 21 on charges he stole and sold drugs seized by police. Trooper Brian Holmes, 41, had been suspended without pay since May 2006, when his partner, Trooper Moises Hernandez, pleaded guilty to aiding members of a drug ring. Hernandez is now doing a 24-year state prison sentence. Holmes was indicted on 13 counts including official misconduct, theft, falsifying records and drug trafficking for, among other things, stealing more than 10 pounds of cocaine from a 123-pound seizure at a Newark warehouse in August 2002 and giving the stolen drugs to Hernandez to sell. He is also charged with stealing a thousand ecstasy tablets from a seizure in Elizabeth in 2004 and selling them with Hernandez.

In Fairton, New Jersey, a federal prison guard was arrested June 14 on charges he accepted bribes to smuggle contraband into the prison. Steven Harper, 32, a guard at the Fairton Federal Correctional Institution, is accused of taking money from a person he thought was an inmate's relative to smuggle in prescription drugs, protein powder, work-out supplements and cigarettes. That person was actually an undercover agent. Harper was snitched out by an inmate after agreeing to smuggle in the goods for $6,000. He is now out on $100,000 bond and faces up to 15 years in prison.

In Schenectady, New York, a former Schenectady narc admitted Monday that he stole crack cocaine from the vice squad evidence locker. The admission came as former narcotics officer Jeffrey Curtis pleaded guilty to drug possession and evidence tampering in a plea bargain that will limit his prison time to four years max. Earlier this year, an investigation into missing drug evidence found that cocaine had gone missing in 15 cases and marijuana in one. While Curtis confessed to taking some of the missing dope, he said he couldn't remember if he took all the cocaine State Police investigators said was missing. Curtis first came to investigators' attention after he failed a drug test given in connection with the investigation into the missing drugs. Police put him under surveillance and arrested him March 16 after they spotted him coming out of a suspected drug-dealing house. It's only the latest problem for a troubled department: Earlier this decade, four patrol officers went to prison for rewarding snitches with crack cocaine, another went to prison for giving a gun to a drug dealer, and earlier this year, another officer admitted tipping off a friend about a gambling investigation but was allowed to keep his job.

In Tucson, a former US Border Patrol agent is going to prison for stealing marijuana while on duty. Michael Carlos Gonzalez, 34, was found guilty in March of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense. Gonzales was on duty back on December 6 when an Arizona highway patrolman pulled over a vehicle and found 30 bales of weed. The patrolman left Gonzalez to guard the stash, but his dashboard camera showed Gonzalez taking one bale and putting in the trunk of his car. The weed was never recovered. Gonzales must now do 7 ½ years in federal prison.

In Milwaukee, a police detective fired for his involvement in the theft of drug money planted by the FBI is seeking back pay and benefits. Milwaukee Detective Philip Sliwinski was caught up in a sting aimed at another Milwaukee police officer, Edwin Bonilla, after reports that Bonilla had taken drug money from crime scenes. In August 2000, the FBI left a bag with $23,000 in a hotel room, where Bonilla found it. Bonilla testified that he, Sliwinski, and a third officer each took $1,000. Sliwinski was never charged, but he was fired. Now he is seeking back pay and benefits after the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled he was denied the right to fully question a federal agent involved in the sting. While the court upheld his firing, Sliwinski's lawyer is arguing that even though he was fired, he should be eligible for pay and benefits up until the state Fire and Police Commission rehears his case.

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