Police Corruption

RSS Feed for this category

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Ho-hum, the banality of drug war-related law enforcement corruption. More crooked cops trying to rip-off drug dealers, another one trying to rip-off his own department, and, of course, yet another prison guard trying to earn a few bucks on the side. Also notable this week is an overview of corruption along the US-Mexico border in the Los Angeles Times. It's well worth checking out, too.

In Chicago, two Chicago police officers trying to rip off what they thought was a drug dealer's cash stash went down in a sting operation Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Officers Richard Doroniuk, 30, and Mahmoud "Mike" Shamah, 27, used information from a co-defendant to obtain search warrants to search self-storage lockers. In two raids, they stole $31,100 in what they thought was drug money, reporting no cash seizure in the first raid and only reporting part of the cash in the second, but the money had actually been placed in the lockers by the FBI and Chicago police internal affairs investigators. Doroniuk, Shamah, and their co-conspirator have now been charged with conspiring to steal government funds.

In Columbia, South Carolina, the Associated Press reported October 19 that a former York County deputy has been busted for ripping-off $1,200 in cash that was supposed to be used in undercover drug deals. William Graham, 37, worked in the county's special drug unit and was in charge of keeping track of those funds. Instead he pocketed them. Now, he has confessed and repaid the money, but still faces charges of embezzlement of public funds and misconduct in office.

In Inez, Kentucky, a federal prison guard was indicted for taking $3,000 for smuggling drugs to a prison inmate, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Guard Alice Marie Stapleton, 30, now faces seven counts of drug possession and conspiracy to smuggle contraband into the prison. According to the indictment, a prisoner's mother delivered heroin and marijuana to Stapleton at a local motel and Stapleton smuggled them into the prison. The prisoner in question has already pleaded guilty to being part of the conspiracy, and his mother and her driver are preparing to do the same, so it looks like the state will have the witnesses it needs to convict Stapleton.

People are Getting Beheaded in Mexico

It’s horrible. But there’s nothing very surprising about it. The drug war promises endless violence and always delivers. Pablo Escobar killed three presidential candidates in the same election and blew up an entire passenger plane to kill two snitches.

This year beheadings are popular. I wonder what people would say if things like this were happening on American soil:

In the most horrendous instance, drug lord gangs busted into a nightclub, toting rifles, and rolled five heads across the dance floor, terrifying onlookers.

People were surprised, but I’m sure everyone knew what it was all about. This kind of thing has been commonplace ever since the drug war began.

Various anti-immigration bloggers are now citing these incidents as evidence that our borders must be secured, for fear that Mexicans will come to America and start cutting peoples’ heads off.

It’s a bit silly, because the worst drug traffickers have no reason to leave Mexico. They’ve got the run of the place. The people crossing the border are poor folks who come here for economic opportunities, less-overt corruption, and white picket fences that don’t have severed heads impaled on them.

If you’re concerned about immigration, note that our drug war incentivizes traffickers to dig tunnels and cut holes in the fence.

If you don’t want your tax-dollars spent educating foreigners, note that you’re footing the bill to train counter-narcotics police in Colombia that just get massacred ten at a time.

And if you’re troubled by all the beheadings near our border, note that our current policy ensures their continuation for the remainder of human history.

Stopping the drug war is our only chance to defund drug terrorists and bring a close to this global catastrophe.


Location: 
United States

Rise in Bribery Tests Integrity of US Border--From California to Texas, 200 Officials Indicted Since 2004

Location: 
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/politics/socal/la-na-border23oct23,0,2778084.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Sheriff Cantu Couldn't Resist the Mordida--The Texas lawman, sent to prison for taking bribes, says: 'I should be punished for what I did wrong.'

Location: 
Brownsville, TX
United States
Publication/Source: 
Los Angeles Times
URL: 
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-cantu23oct23,1,6116.story

Sheriff Deputy Probed

Location: 
OK
United States
Publication/Source: 
Stillwater News Press
URL: 
http://www.stillwater-newspress.com/siteSearch/apstorysection/local_story_288011323.html

Veteran Payne County Oklahoma Deputy Sheriff Brooke Buchanan Suspended Amid (Meth Lab?) Investigation By State

Location: 
Stillwater, OK
United States
Publication/Source: 
More Bad Cop News
URL: 
http://www.morebadcopnews.com/veteran-payne-county-oklahoma-deputy-sheriff-brooke-buchanan-suspended-amid-meth-lab-investigation-by-state.html

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Busy, busy, busy. Judges on cocaine, cops dealing cocaine, cops selling ecstasy, Air Force pilots smuggling ecstasy, police chemists pilfering from the evidence pile, and, of course, jail guards smuggling dope into prisons. Let's get to it:

In Las Cruces, New Mexico, the state Judicial Standards Commission filed a petition last Friday seeking the removal of a Dona Ana County magistrate on the grounds he tested positive for cocaine, according to the Associated Press. Magistrate Carlos Garza, 42, has denied using drugs and vowed to fight the move. Garza has been suspended by the commission since September 20, when he failed to comply with a commission order he submit to a drug test. According to the commission, he has since failed another drug test. The commission also accused Garza of trying to pressure a Mesilla deputy marshal during a traffic stop where the judge was in a car with a woman "with whom he had a personal relationship" and asking a court clerk to clear the woman's license early in a drunk driving case. He was put on probation by the Judicial Standards Commission earlier this year in that case, and he said the charge he used cocaine was a continuation of a commission vendetta against him. He said the cocaine metabolites found in his system could have been received through "passive exposure." Garza is running unopposed for reelection in next month's elections.

[Ed: Whether to include mere drug use/possession by criminal justice personnel among the examples of corruption is a dilemma Drug War Chronicle routinely faces. We've opted so far to include them, because a judge who uses illegal drugs may also be a judge who presides over trials of, and pronounces sentences on, other drug users who have only done the same thing (hypocrisy); and because the judge is violating a law he has sworn to uphold (it being a law with which we disagree notwithstanding). Still, it bears reminder that there is a difference between drug use even by police or judges vs. profiting from the drug trade or other examples of official misconduct.]

In Durham, North Carolina, a Durham County sheriff's deputy has been arrested in a drug raid at a local bar and two more deputies have been fired for working security there. Deputy Michael Owens, the owner of the raided bar, was charged along with four others with trafficking cocaine and conspiracy to traffic cocaine, and he faces the additional charge of maintaining a building for the purposes of distributing cocaine. Deputies Brad King and Keith Dotson, who worked off-duty as security for the club, were suspended that same night, the Durham Herald Sun reported, and fired early this week. Authorities reported seizing 1.4 ounces of cocaine during the raid.

In Biloxi, Mississippi, a former Biloxi police officer pleaded guilty last Friday to selling ecstasy, the Biloxi Sun Herald reported. Darrell Cvitanovich, who resigned from the force after his arrest, faces up to 30 years in prison after he admitted selling four ecstasy tablets to a friend. Cvitanovich, who is the son of a former Biloxi police chief, was arrested in June 2005 after an investigation into allegations he was involved in drug activities. During a search of his home, police found 11 ecstasy tablets and a small amount of methamphetamine. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and transfer of a controlled substance, but pleaded last week to the single sales charge. Cvitanovich is free on $50,000 bond pending sentencing.

In New York City, a US Air National Guard pilot who took an Air Force jet to Germany and carried back 200,000 ecstasy tablets was sentenced last Friday to 17 ½ years in prison. Capt. Franklin Rodriguez, 36, and his coconspirator, Master Sgt. John Fong, 37, had pleaded guilty in federal court after being busted for the April 2005 flight. Fong awaits sentencing. The pair went down after federal law enforcement agents watched Fong load 28 bags into a BMW sedan and found them filled with ecstasy tablets, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors said Rodriguez had repeatedly flown drugs on military flights, bringing hundreds of thousands of ecstasy tablets to the US. The feds found more than $700,000 cash in his apartment. They have it now.

In Philadelphia, a former civilian chemist for the Philadelphia Police Department was arrested October 11 on charges she stole drugs for her own use, the Associated Press reported. Colleen Brubaker, 30, came under suspicion in April and resigned in May. Authorities now accuse her of grabbing pain-relieving opiates like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin to feed her own habit. She is charged with drug possession, theft, receiving stolen property, tampering with evidence, obstruction, tampering with public records or information, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. Since Brubaker was the chemist responsible for hundreds of drug cases, public defenders are now looking into the possibility that some of them may have to be dismissed.

In Stillwater, Oklahoma, a Payne County sheriff's deputy has been suspended without pay pending an investigation by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, the Associated Press reported. Local officials are mum about exactly what Deputy Brooke Buchanan, a 13-year veteran of the department, is accused of doing, but they did confirm that a special prosecutor has been named in the investigation. The investigation could take several more weeks before any charges are filed.

In Lubbock, Texas, a Lubbock County jail guard was arrested Sunday night as she arrived at work carrying marijuana, KLBK-CBS 13 TV in Lubbock reported. Renata Hernandez, 26, is charged with introducing a prohibited substance into a correctional facility. She faces between two and ten years in prison. While sheriff's office spokesmen said they believed she was bringing the weed into the jail to sell it, they have not been able to prove that yet.

Guard pilot gets prison for flying drugs (AP, Poughkeepsie Journal)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061015/NEWS05/610150361/1009

Latin America: Tijuana Mayor Vows to Investigate Entire Police Force for Links to Drug Trade

The mayor of the Mexican border city of Tijuana, Jorge Hank Rhon, announced over the weekend that the entire municipal police force is to be investigated for involvement in the drug trade. The city is home to the Arellano Felix drug trafficking organization, one of the most powerful in Mexico. The group is locked in a bloody battle with the competing "Juarez cartel," led by the criminal heirs of the legendary Amado Carrillo Fuentes, known as the "Lord of the Skies" before his death in 1997. Dozens of people have been killed this year in Tijuana in battles between the rival groups.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/tijuanalogo.gif
Tijuana police logo (courtesy DrugWar.com)
Tensions have worsened in the city since the August arrest of Francisco Javier Arellano Felix by US authorities off the Baja California coast in August. Since then, violence has escalated, and the dead include at least five police officers from city, state, or federal agencies, including assistant Tijuana police chief Arturo Rivas Vaca, who was gunned down in his patrol car in mid-September.

After that incident, Tijuana officials accused federal law enforcement officials of not doing enough to help fight the traffickers, which prompted an unusually testy response from the federal attorney general's office. In a communiqué issued in late September, the office accused Mayor Rhon and Tijuana secretary of public safety Luis Javier Algorri Franco of "complacency or direct complicity" with the drug traffic.

Rhon was also facing pressure from powerful Tijuana business interests worried that the corruption and violence could affect their bottom lines. The major business group in the city, the Entrepreneurial Coordinating Council, had announced last month it was boycotting public functions until local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies began working together, and last week, it threatened to move businesses from the city unless something was done.

That is apparently what prompted Rhon's weekend call for a mass investigation of the municipal police. While police corruption in Tijuana has been endemic for years -- local police report 66 of their own arrested in the past six months -- it is the open political spat between Rhon and Mexico City that greased the wheels for the investigation and the pressure from business that made it happen.

"Everyone from the policeman on the beat to the state police superintendent will be subject to this investigation," Rhon told a weekend press conference.

"We haven't waited for anyone to come from outside to help us with the theme of corruption," Algorri said in the weekend press conference announcing the mass investigation of Tijuana's 2,300 police. Algorri added that it was unfair to single out the city police. "The problem of corruption in police agencies is a reality, and all of the police agencies have problems with corruption," he said.

Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A tawdry tale out of Tulsa, a New York cop gets off easy, and the Boston Police aren't sure where all the dope went. Just another week of drug prohibition-related police corruption. Let's get to it:

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/tulsa.jpg
hot times in Tulsa
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the husband of an exotic dancer is shining a light on some sordid business involving a pair of Tulsa Police Department officers. The lawsuit was filed by Shannon Coyle, the husband of dancer Crystal Garr. Coyle was arrested on drug charges last year by Officer Travis Ludwig, after Coyle filed an internal affairs complaint against Ludwig because Ludwig was sleeping with Garr. Coyle was arrested first on marijuana possession charges, then again on methamphetamine and paraphernalia charges in raids led by Ludwig. When Coyle found out Ludwig was sleeping with his wife, he text-messaged him, warning him to stay away. Ludwig then took those messages to a deputy prosecutor who okayed another arrest for Coyle, this time for intimidating a witness -- Ludwig. All the charges were dropped once officials became aware of the affair, and Ludwig has been disciplined by the department, but he still faces Coyle's lawsuit. So does Officer Israel Rodriguez, whom Coyle also accuses of sleeping with his wife. Ludwig and Garr currently live together, although she remains married to Coyle, the father of her four children. Oh, by the way, the deputy prosecutor who okayed Coyle's third arrest? She had also been sleeping with the busy Ludwig. Read all about this Oklahoma law enforcement Peyton Place in the Tulsa World, which has in-depth coverage and a handy chart with all the players.

In New York City, a former NYPD narcotics detective got off easy last week when he was sentenced for robbing more than $740,000 from drug dealers over an eight-year period, Newsday reported. Former detective Julio Vasquez, 46, was among five NYPD cops arrested in the scheme, which unraveled when federal agents staking out a drug suspect saw him robbed by Vasquez and fellow cop Thomas Rachko. All of the other cops have pleaded guilty, too. Vasquez got a sweet six-year sentence from federal Judge Carol Amon on October 5 after prosecutors filed a letter saying he had cooperated with investigators. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, he would have faced between 17 and 22 years.

In Boston, an audit of the Boston Police drug depository has revealed that the department cannot account for some of the drugs seized over the years, the Boston Globe reported Sunday. Police Commissioner Albert Goslin told the Globe it was too early to suggest corruption and that the drugs -- seized as evidence over the years -- may just be lost. As the audit continues, three officers are trying to track down the drug evidence in some 190,000 cases, some dating back more than 20 years.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School