Police Corruption

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This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

More jail guards in trouble, a DEA agent gets popped for child porn, and a Mississippi cop gets fired after getting caught in a major marijuana deal. Let's get to it:

In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a Hattiesburg police officer was fired last Wednesday amid allegations he is a target of a state and federal drug investigation. Officer Thomas Wheeler got canned after he was caught making a 600-pound marijuana deal earlier this month. Wheeler has yet to be charged, and his case will likely go before a grand jury in October.

In McAllen, Texas, a DEA special agent was arrested last Friday on child porn charges. Special Agent James Patrick Burke had been the subject of a February raid in which FBI agents seized his laptop and discovered he was viewing and downloading child pornography. It's not clear exactly what he's been charged with, but he's now on administrative leave from the DEA.

In Mobile, Alabama, a Mobile County jail guard was arrested Tuesday for allegedly selling drugs. David John Black Jr. is charged with four counts of distribution of marijuana, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. The Mobile County Sheriff's Office said there was no evidence he was dealing drugs at the jail.

In Memphis, four Shelby County jail deputies pleaded guilty last Thursday to trying to smuggle prescription drugs into the jail. Torriano Vaughn, Brian Grammer, Anthony Thomas and Marcus Green had participated in a scheme to smuggle what they thought were OxyContin pills into Shelby County Jail on multiple occasions between May and December 2014. But it was a sting, and the four have now pleaded guilty to attempted possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. They're looking at up to 20 years.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A DARE cop gets popped for ripping off the program, another jail guard goes down, a federal cop gets busted after his meth lab explodes, and more. Let's get to it:

In Opelousas, Louisiana, a St. Landry Parish jail guard was arrested last Thursday after he confessed to smuggling drugs and cell phones into the jail. Deputy Christopher Lazard confessing to introducing contraband on at least five separate occasions. He is charged with malfeasance in office and introduction of contraband into a jail.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, a former Brown County sheriff's deputy and a DARE volunteer were arrested last Thursday on charges they stole money from the drug education program. Former DARE officer Kevin Vanden Heuvel faces two counts of theft by an employee and two counts of misconduct in office, while former DARE volunteer Early Fuller is charged with being a party to theft and obstructing an officer. The pair stole money meant for the program by handing out fake parking passes at Lambeau Field and pocketing the money.

In Honolulu, a Honolulu police officer was arrested last Thursday during a drug raid on a home in McCully. Alan Ahn, a nine-year veteran of the force, had earlier been arrested on July 13 on domestic violence charges, but those charges had been dropped when his girlfriend, who was the victim, refused to cooperate. He and the girlfriend were sleeping together when the SWAT team raided the residence. Both were arrested for numerous drug offenses, but neither has been officially charged.

In Memphis, a Memphis police officer was arrested last Thursday by the West Tennessee Drug Task Force in a reverse sting. Officer Joshua McCann, 34, was busted trying to buy 38 hydrocodone tablets from an undercover officer. When he was arrested, police found a digital scale containing drug residue, a bullet proof vest, and a loaded handgun in his vehicle. He is charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of a handgun during the commission of a dangerous felony and possession of drug paraphernalia.

In Washington, DC, a former federal police officer was arrested Monday with trying to cook meth at work after the federal lab he was guarding exploded. Christopher Bartley worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, but resigned his position a day after the explosion. He is charged with one count of attempting to manufacture meth.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A North Carolina cop already in prison for stealing pain pills is now charged with marijuana trafficking, a Texas narc gets probation for stealing and using drug dog training drugs, and another prison guard goes down. Just another week of drug war-related law enforcement corruption. Let's get to it:

In Wilmington, North Carolina, a former New Hanover County Sheriff's Office narcotics officer was charged last Thursday with marijuana trafficking and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Joseph Antoine LeBlanc, 43, is already doing more than four years in prison after pleading guilty last October to more than a hundred counts of stealing evidence -- prescription pain pills -- and forging court orders to obtain more from local pharmacies. The new charges arise from a pot stash found on his property after he was already jailed.

In Princeton, Kentucky, a state prison guard was arrested last Friday after a tip to the State Police led to a drug dog search of his car, which in turn led to the discovery of four packages of marijuana and prescriptions. A later search of his residence turned up three more bags of weed. Officer Geoffrey Nettesheim was arrested and jailed on as yet unspecified charges.

In Fort Worth, Texas, a former Grapevine K-9 officer was sentenced last Friday to five years' probation for stealing and consuming drugs used for training drug dogs. Danny Macchio, 50, had reported that someone had broken into his official patrol/K-9 vehicle while parked at his Fort Worth home and stolen a case of drugs including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy, along with a personal handgun. Grapevine police began an internal investigation and required Macchio to take a drug test, but his family reported him missing the next day. After being found in the Panhandle, he confessed that his vehicle hadn't been robbed and that he taken and used the drugs himself. He was originally charged with misuse of government property and abuse of official capacity, but a Tarrant County grand jury also indicted him on a charge of evidence tampering, and that's what he copped to.

Chronicle AM: Judge Throws Out More Philly Cases, India Shiva Pilgrims Toke Up, More (8/7/15)

An Oregon congressman calls for down-scheduling marijuana, an Oklahoma US senator wants to punish tribes that allow marijuana, Boston's first dispensary is likely coming soon, drug hair-testing for truck drivers edges closer, and more.

Shiva devotees on the Kanwar Yatra pilgrimage to the Ganges are taking full advantage of wild cannabis on the way. (wikimedia)
Marijuana Policy

Rep. Earl Blumenauer Calls for Rescheduling or Descheduling Marijuana. The Oregon Democratic congressman sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch Thursday urging her to reschedule or de-schedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act to reflect science and the government's position on this issue." Blumenauer added that "It is clear to the American people, scientists and researchers that marijuana should not be categorized as a Schedule I drug."

Oklahoma Senator Files Bill to Punish Tribes That Allow Pot. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) has filed a bill that would cut all federal funds for any Indian tribes or tribal organizations that allow the cultivation, manufacture, or distribution of marijuana on their reservations. The Justice Department earlier this year gave tribes the go ahead to get into the marijuana business if they wanted. Lankford's bill, the KIDS (Keeping Out Illegal Drugs) ACT, is not yet available on the congressional website, but can be viewed here.

Medical Marijuana

First Boston Dispensary Could Open Soon. Patriot Care Corporation has received tentative approval from zoning board officials to open the first dispensary in the city, despite some opposition from locals. After twice delaying a decision, the Zoning Board of Appeals decided Tuesday to grant Patriot Care conditional approval. The state's first dispensary opened in June in Salem.

Drug Testing

Federal Advisory Board Recommends Hair Testing for Truck Drivers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMSHA) Drug Testing Advisory Board has recommended that hair testing be approved as an alternative drug screening technique for truck drivers and other "safety-sensitive" federal workers. The recommendation now goes to the head of SAMSHA, and if she approves it, it would then go to the Department of Health and Human Services. Hair drug testing detects drug use for much longer periods of time than urine or blood testing.

Law Enforcement

Philadelphia Judge Throws Out 158 More Convictions Linked to Corrupt Narcs. Philly's dirty narcs may have managed to avoid criminal convictions for their misdeeds, but their actions continue to reverberate through the city's criminal justice system. A city judge today threw out 158 more criminal convictions linked to the narcs, bringing the total of vacated convictions involving the seven officers to 560, and more are on the way. More than 135 civil rights lawsuits have been filed against the city as a result of cases involving the seven narcotics officers.

International

Indian Shiva Devotees on Pilgrimage Enjoying Roadside Cannabis. Shiva devotees on the Kanwar Yatra pilgrimage route toward the Ganges are staying high on overgrowths of cannabis along the roads. The devotees are big smokers: "Without weed, the yatra remains incomplete," said one. "It brings me closer to Bhole Baba," said another. "Its usage also helps one cover long distances from Haridwar to Meerut on foot, as it keeps the body's energy intact," he added. State officials are supposed to eradicate wild cannabis growth, but are having a hard time: "It has grown almost everywhere. How do we destroy it?" asked one official who declined to be named. Another said that eradication is so ineffective it ought to be decriminalized.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

We have a Philadelphia twofer this week, an Indiana cop who killed himself after getting busted stealing pain pills, an Oklahoma K9 cop popped for stealing dope, another jail guard in trouble, and more.

In Michigan City, Indiana, a Michigan City police officer was arrested last Tuesday for possession of a "legend drug" without a prescription and two counts of official misconduct. Four days later, Officer Robert Grant committed suicide. He had served 12 years with the department.

In Checotah, Oklahoma, a Checotah K9 officer was arrested last Friday after drugs went missing. Officer Matthew Benton LeMasters, 35, went down after the police chief asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to investigate the missing drugs a month ago. He's charged with obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

In San Antonio, a Bexar County detention deputy was arrested last Friday after an undercover investigation showed he had provided drugs and other contraband to inmates at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center that morning. Deputy Termaine Elliot, 22, is now charged with bribery and possession of a controlled substance in a correctional facility. Both are felonies with sentences of to 20 years.

In Troy, New York, a former Watervliet police officer was arrested Tuesday as one of 20 alleged members of a Troy-based drug trafficking ring. Nicholas Pontore, 29, is accused of providing protection from the ring and regularly buying cocaine from one of its members, sometimes in uniform while on duty. Police seized more than a kilo of cocaine, more than 100 bags of heroin, and $100,000 in cash during the bust. It's not clear what the exact charges against Pastore are.

In Philadelphia, a former Philadelphia police narcotics officer was found guilty last Friday of stealing cash from a drug dealer's Lexus. Gerold Gibson, 45, went down in a sting. The Lexus didn't belong to a drug dealer and it had hidden cameras put there as part of a police "integrity test." The jury convicted him of theft by deception, receiving stolen property, theft by failing to make required disposition of funds, obstruction of the administration of law, and tampering with evidence.

In Philadelphia, a former Philadelphia police narcotics officer was sentenced last Thursday to 3 ½ years in federal prison for crimes he admitted participating in while a member of the Narcotics Field Unit. Jeffrey Walker testified against six of his former colleagues, but they were acquitted, so it looks like the one who came clean is the only one going to the slammer. Although they failed to win a conviction in the larger case, federal prosecutors still said Walker was a "credible witness" and the sentencing judge agreed. He granted a downward departure from sentencing guidelines that called for nine to 11 years.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Probation officers on drugs, perjuring narcs, and cops helping out drug dealers. Just another week of drug war-related police corruption. Let's get to it:

In Waynesville, North Carolina, a Buncombe County probation officer was arrested last Thursday on multiple charges for allegedly trying to buy 60 oxycodone tablets from an undercover officer posing as a drug seller. Jill Suddreth allegedly tried to flush the pills down the toilet when taken to the detention center. She is charged with solicitation to commit a felony, conspiracy, possession and more. She out on bond right now.

In San Luis Obispo, California, a former San Luis Obispo County DA's investigator was arrested Monday on charges he lied in a search warrant affidavit to a judge while a member of the Sheriff's Narcotics Task Force. AJ Santana filed an affidavit for a search warrant in August 2014 and successfully had it sealed "to protect an ongoing investigation," but officials discovered he had lied. Then they dropped the charges against the man Santana targeted. He's looking at up to 18 months in state prison.

In Houston, Texas, a former Houston Police officer was convicted Tuesday of helping her drug-dealing boyfriend transport cocaine between Huntsville and Houston. Jasmine Bonner, 27, went down after a confidential informant set up a sting in which Bonner and her boyfriend took possession of a kilo of cocaine. They were arrested as they drove away with the dope. She copped to one count of aiding and abetting possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, and is looking at up to 40 years in federal prison, with a mandatory minimum of five years.

In Miami, a Miami-Dade County police detective was sentenced last Wednesday to three years in prison for giving information and tips to a marijuana trafficking organization. Roderick Silva admitted tipping off the Santisteban family pot crew to a police list of suspected grow houses and accepted $1500 for his trouble. He copped to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Chronicle AM: OR Gov Signs Marijuana Sales Bill, More British Cops Turning Blind Eye to Marijuana, More (7/28/15)

Any adult will be able to buy marijuana at Oregon dispensaries beginning October 1, some British police are moving toward de facto decriminalization, dirty Philly cops beat a corruption rap and are now suing city officials, and more.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) has signed a bill allowing recreational marijuana sales at dispensaries beginning October 1. (or.gov)
Marijuana Policy

Oregon Governor Signs Bill Allowing Recreational Marijuana Sales to Begin October 1. Gov. Kate Brown (D) has signed into law Senate Bill 460, which will allow medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling marijuana to all adults on October 1. Pot shops other than existing dispensaries won't come on line until next year.

Medical Marijuana

Michigan Supreme Court Says Medical Marijuana Card Doesn't Grant Sweeping Immunity, But… In a pair of cases regarding medical marijuana caregivers, the state's high court has ruled that the medical marijuana law does not grant sweeping immunity to cardholders, but sent the cases back to lower courts to determine whether the defendants are entitled to immunity. The court seems to be getting tired of medical marijuana. It has addressed the issue nine times in the past seven years. "The many inconsistencies in the law have caused confusion for medical marijuana caregivers and patients, law enforcement, attorneys, and judges, and have consumed valuable public and private resources to interpret and apply it," wrote Justice Bryan Zahra.

Law Enforcement

Acquitted Philly Cops Sue City Officials for Defamation. Five members of a notorious Philadelphia Police dope squad who managed to avoid federal corruption convictions and who have won the right to return to work are now suing the district attorney, the mayor, and the police commissioner. They say they were unfairly maligned and fired. After numerous reports of corrupt activities, DA Seth Williams began refusing their cases in 2012 and that "started a gigantic, destructive avalanche of severe and permanent wrongs, damages and injustices" that continues to affect the officers today," their attorney wrote. They had been accused of routinely beating drug suspects, stealing money, and lying on police reports. One member of the squad pleaded guilty and testified against the others, but the jury did not convict.

International

Three More British Police Forces Will Basically Ignore Small Pot Grows. Police in Derbyshire, Dorset, and Surrey are joining police in Durham in quietly turning a blind eye to small-scale marijuana cultivation and use. While the Conservative government continues to have a hard-line stance on marijuana, the cops say they have better things to do. "On the list of priorities cannabis moves a long way down the chain," one police official explained.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Jail guards smuggling dope, cops helping drug dealers, cops ripping off drug dealers. Familiar stories, repeated over and over. Here's this week's bunch. Let's get to it:

In Hagerstown, Maryland, a Maryland state prison guard was arrested last Wednesday on charges he was smuggling drugs into the prison. Matthew Charles Scott, 28, went down after he obtained drugs and cash from a snitch working for a county drug task force. He is charged with attempting to possess controlled dangerous substances with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute narcotics.

In Lafayette, Louisiana, a Lafayette Parish jail guard was arrested last Wednesday for bringing contraband, including unspecified "illegal substances," into the jail. Jayron Lenoir, 27, went down after authorities received a tip that he was smuggling in goodies. He is charged with introduction of contraband into a penal facility and malfeasance in office.

In Newark, New Jersey, an Essex County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Thursday in connection with a sprawling heroin distribution conspiracy. Officer Robert Andrews, 28, is charged with hindering the investigation into the drug ring and fourth degree obstructing administration of law. He allegedly provided information to one of the subjects of the investigation and assisted in identifying law enforcement officers. More than four dozen people have been arrested in the crackdown on the ring, dubbed Operation TIDE.

In McAllen, Texas, a former Mission police officer was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing several bundles of cocaine from a home and staging a fake drug seizure a few days later to try to conceal the theft. Hector "Jo Jo" Mendez, 45, is charged with possession with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. The charge carries a maximum life prison sentence and $10 million fine. The 17-year veteran had been assigned to a DEA drug task force.

In Houston, Texas, a former Houston police officer was convicted Monday for her role in a cocaine trafficking operation. Jasmine Bonner, 27, had admitted aiding a major cocaine supplier after he had already been identified as a target of a federal drug investigation. He was her boyfriend. She had been arrested in possession of a pound of cocaine she had agreed to transport. She was convicted of aiding and abetting possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. She's looking at a mandatory minimum five years in federal prison, and up to 40 years.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

The beat goes on. Cops stealing weed in Texas, heroin in DC, and big sums of cash in Virginia, jail guards dealing smack, and more. Let's get to it:

In Sullivan City, Texas, a Sullivan City police officer was fired last Thursday amid accusations he stole marijuana from the evidence room. Angel de la Mora admitted having stolen the weed, and went down after a fellow officer noticed him "behaving oddly." He had mixed some of the marijuana with rubbing alcohol, a local folk remedy for aches and pains.

In New York City, a Rikers Island jail guard was arrested last Wednesday in a sweep that netted 12 alleged members of the Bloods on drug charges. Rikers guard Covel Duncan and the other 11 are all charged with intent to distribute over a kilogram of heroin between November 2014 and June 2015, authorities said. They're all looking at up to life in prison.

In Leesburg, Virginia, a former Loudon County sheriff's deputy was indicted by a federal grand jury last Thursday on charges that he embezzled $200,000 from a sheriff's office asset forfeiture fund. Frank Michael Parsons, 44, faces four counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal benefits. Parsons oversaw the asset forfeiture program, and is accused of stealing the money over a three-year period.

In Easton, Connecticut, four Connecticut law enforcement officers were arrested Tuesday on federal they were involving in a steroids and prescription opiates distribution ring. Easton Police Commissioner Raymond Martin, 48, went down after what the DEA and FBI called a long investigation into steroid shipments from China. He is charged with conspiracy to possess oxycodone with the intent to distribute. Also arrested in the case were a Newtown police sergeant and dispatcher and a state judicial marshal.

In West Palm Beach, Florida, a former Palm Beach County Sheriff's narcotics detective pleaded guilty last Friday to charges he trumped up a drug charge against a Riviera Beach man. Joaquin Fonseca-Ortiz, 49, pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges of official misconduct. In return, prosecutors dropped three other charges, including possession of cocaine, a felony. Under the agreement, he will serve six months house arrest and will have work release.

In Washington, DC, a former FBI agent was sentenced last Thursday to three years in federal prison for stealing heroin seized as evidence. Matthew Lowry's thefts, which he said were to feed his own habit, resulted in the dismissal of cases against 28 drug defendants, including 25 who had pleaded guilty and were freed from prison.

In St. Louis, a former St. Louis police officer was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison for giving a gun to a drug dealer in order to help him stay in business. Don McGhee pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in April, about a week after being indicted. He went down after a pistol-grip shotgun he had given to the dealer was seized in a later drug raid and traced back to him.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A New Mexico cop gets hoisted by his own petard, a DC cop won't get to keep her drug-money Maserati, a border guard gets popped stealing pain pills from drivers, and more. Let's get to it:

In Roswell, New Mexico, a Roswell police officer was arrested last Wednesday after his claim that a fast food worker spit in his drink went bad. When investigators watched video from the restaurant, they saw no evidence of the misdeed, and Officer Christopher Ray Moreno then admitted that he made it up because he didn't like the worker, whom he had arrested for petty crimes in the past. Knowing he faced firing over the incident, he resigned and turned in his equipment. When police searched the trunk of his police car, they found meth, drug pipes, a BB gun, and a suspect's driver license. He is now charged with a variety of offenses, including make false reports, drug possession, and theft.

In Allentown, Pennsylvania, a Northampton County jail guard was arrested last Friday on charges he smuggled drugs and a cell phone into the jail. Brian Keith Jenkins, 30, faces one count of providing a controlled substance to a confined person and one count of providing a telecommunications device to a confined person.

In Brownsville, Texas, a former Starr County narcotics investigator pleaded guilty last Tuesday to trafficking cocaine. Formed investigator Noel Pena, 29, who had been assigned to the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force, went down in a sting operation after he met an undercover agent and agreed to stage a fake bust where the trafficker could tell his employers the drugs had been seized, but he would really split them with Pena. Pena copped to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. He's looking at a 10-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence.

In Washington, DC, a former DC Metro Police detective was sentenced last Thursday to 15 months in prison after using money she got in a drug conspiracy to buy a motorcycle and several cars. Stephanie Ellison, 51, and her drug-dealing accomplice bought a Maserati, a BMW, and a Harley Davidson motorcycle in a bid to conceal their drug money. She pleaded guilty to a single count of money laundering in March.

In Burlington, Vermont, a former Customs and Border Patrol officer was sentenced Monday to two years' probation for stealing oxycodone pills while on the job at the Highgate border crossing with Canada. Christopher Van Zandt, 30, admitted stealing drugs while searching a vehicle entering the country.

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