Saturday, March 04, 2006

Cops not immune to drug war corruption

Drug-related corruption among law enforcement isn't just a problem on the Mexican side of the border, folks. While it's unsettling to think of law enforcement dealing drugs or acting in cahoots with drug dealers, such stories crop up all the time. With so much money involved it's impossible to pay cops enough to counter the potential income from collusion in the drug trade, and a minority of officers will inevitably succumb to the temptation.

In the latest
example, the Troup, TX police department was shut down when the chief and another officer were arrested this week for allegedly fabricating and/or tampering with evidence and stealing drugs from the evidence locker. Three others were placed on paid leave. The Dallas News reported ("Police chief, officer arrested after drug inquiry," March 4) that:
Investigators said checks with the Texas Department of Public Safety, where the crime lab processes drug evidence for local police departments statewide, determined that Troup officers hadn't sent in any evidence for testing in more than five years. ...

Asked about the missing drugs, [the chief] told investigators that "he knew it was going on. He claims he was trying to handle it, but it wasn't going too good."
Apparently not. My family owns land near Troup where I spent a lot of time as a kid, so this story hits close to home. (Indeed, I'm not sure which is the bigger shock - that cops were allegedly stealing drugs or that tiny Troup, TX had five police officers.)

In related news, the weekly
Drug War Chronicle does a great job of tracking the worst cases of drug-related police corruption. Last week's edition included stories about two Texas officers in their weekly roundup of corrupt cop stories, both of whom were in some way tripped up by their significant other. A San Antonio officer was busted with volumes of pre-packaged narcotics after his girlfriend consented to a search of their home, while a Texarkana officer was fired for alleged drug dealing and an alleged plot to murder his wife. Reports Drug War Chronicle:
In San Antonio, a 10-year veteran of the San Antonio Police Department was arrested February 17 on marijuana possession charges after raiding the home he shared with his girlfriend, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Joseph Evans, 42, went down after his girlfriend, Katherine Sanchez, was pulled over in a traffic stop and police found drugs. She then consented to a search of their home, and police found marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and prescription drugs, much of it packaged for resale in small baggies. While neither Evans nor Sanchez are charged with drug trafficking at this point, a Bexar County District Attorneys Office investigation is continuing. Evans made $800 bail the next day, but Sanchez remains jailed on heavier narcotics possession charges.

In Texarkana, Texas, a 14-year police department veteran is on paid leave on suspicion he conspired to have his wife killed and is involved in drug dealing, the Texarkana Police Department announced February 17. Officer Randy Case "may have conspired to have his wife killed and may have conspired to manufacture and distribute methamphetamines," the department said, citing information it received from the FBI. Although Case has actually been on leave since the FBI notified Texarkana police of the investigation in December, the department made no announcement until now.
UPDATE: Talk Left points out that the Sergeant arrested in Troup was named "Officer of the Year" last year by the local Chamber of Commerce.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your favorite troll here.

"such stories crop up all the time,."

I believe this to be overstated and harsh.

However, to be fair, I appreciated the following:

...a minority of officers will inevitably succumb to the temptation."

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Grits,

A Massachusetts State Police Sergeant named Timothy White is currently awaiting trial for charges that he stole about 13 kilos of cocaine; other drugs; and attempted to kill his wife. The thefts occurred from 2000 to 2003 and he wouldn't have been caught if he hadn't threatened his wife.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/05/06/state_police_drug_procedures_at_issue?mode=PFfrom the MSP evidence system

Don't know what you're favorite troll thinks of this one but if I may let me put forth an analogy that I feel is important for you to understand this TROLL and these situations. The analogy involves the Rodney King beating.

If not for the tape, those four officers would have written a report so the report would have been their version of what happened. King would have said something else and the whole event would have went away because the story of the four cops would have agreed. That distinction is important to understand because while you don't have a video tape of the corruption there is evidence just as good as the video tape.

Cops have perfected their reporting system but they can't perfect what they are reporting so you catch them using their own report and the day to day records they have to fill out in the office. You essentially recreate their day and when you do you'll have a recreation (similar to a video) that directly contradicts the facts of their official reports. Remember the video tape caught those cops not other cops and it damn sure wouldn't have been their reports.

The FBI seized the computers and the office records in Troup to recreate a day to day diary of what happened that no would ever know if that Sergeant hadn't sold that marijuana to the wrong guy.

The DNA of these cop corruption cases is matching their official reports to their day to day records, their cell phone records, their credit card slips, their vehicle records, and their evidence records.

That troll is probably on his way to the PD now to shred records

SteveHeath said...

As part of my work with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition http://www.leap.cc/tbay I have had discussions with several officers who have extensive history working Internal Affairs.

They tell me that upwards of 80% of ALL police corruption stems from the policy of drug Prohibition. When we end drug Prohibition, it's reasonable to conclude that a similar percentage of law enforcement corruption will be eliminated.

Quite simply, the majority of laws do not overtly stimulate police corruption.

SteveHeath said...

"Evans made $800 bail the next day, but Sanchez remains jailed on heavier narcotics possession charges."

SH: $800?

$800?

In my next life I want to be a drug cop and just Totally Get Over.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Steve: You're absolutely right. The girlfriend rolls on the boyfriend, but SHE's getting "heavier" charges while the cop's only slapped with pot possession. Why the SA cop wasn't blamed for harder drugs found in his home is beyond me. Under the same circumstances, you or I would be up a creek.

As to the first commenter, I'd suggest you subscribe to the Drug War Chronicle and check out their weekly drug-war-related police corruption stories. Many of these stories fly under the radar if you're not looking for them. Though it's true only a small minority of officers engage in drug-related corruption, it's equally true that you see these stories "all the time."

Anonymous said...

that just goes to show that cops are human too.....

they fall to the same temptations as every other drug user....

and you think there is no need for drug enforcement.....

hope said...

"that just goes to show that cops are human too.....

they fall to the same temptations as every other drug user...."

Something's strange. You mean you think that cops are "human"...even after they've become drug users?

And "drug user"? They get to be called "drug user", instead of "doper", "dope head" "pothead", "junkie", "loser", "druggie", "scum", "dirt bag", "crack head or crack whore" or whatever the derogatory term of the day is? Are you that considerate of everyone caught with their hand in the "drug-jar"?

No, Anonymous whichever, we don't need "drug enforcement" like we see it today. We sure don't.

It's doing far more harm than good and while I'm sure your efforts may occasionally cause a shortage or anxiety to the user or smuggler, or put one dealer out and bring in two more, you certainly haven't done anything to decrease the severity of any problem to do with drugs in any way. In fact, by your very prohibition you have driven any problems underground and made bad results more likely than ever to happen to the drug user as well as anyone who happens to be the latest "mistake"…serious mistake, made by your enforcement.

Sometimes…you know you guys lure people into "conspiracies". You lead some of them to do things in the way of buying and selling contraband, which they might not have even considered without your help. You "befriend" then "betray" them. Then you complete the job by arresting them, shackling, humiliating, degrading, tearing apart their families, and ruining their lives, along with imprisoning them. Imprisonment is serious stuff, to be reserved for dangerous people. Imprisonment is putting a man or woman in a cage and locking the door and keeping the key.

You may enforce drugs, whatever exactly that means...but you aren't helping anyone by doing the things you do to them in the name of "drug enforcement".

How often do you set an example for them of a decent, upright man? Someone they can like, respect, and even admire and look up, too. Or do you like to break down their doors, kill their dogs, humiliate them, frighten them, wreck their homes, take as many of their possessions as possible, and show them who really has the foulest mouth and most hateful and alarming demeanor?

Making substance consumers criminals, even if the substance they consume is not something you would choose for them to consume, is no different than making the food addict or alcoholic, or nicotine addict a criminal.

It actually might have done the world more good if you guys had caught Bush II at more of his "youthful indiscretions" and given him enough of a criminal record to keep him out of the Whitehouse, but it wouldn't have done him any good at all.

You might as well poke them in the eye with a sharp stick as give them your kind of "help" and "compassion".

Besides the illegalities, how is drinking alcohol, consuming caffeine, or tobacco, any different than consuming another drug?

Your War on Drugs isn't about protecting anyone. It's about feeding bodies into the prison industrial machine owned and promoted by some of the wealthiest people in the world. I think you and all prohibitionists are complicit in increasing the worthless, filthy wealth of those elite and privileged few who reap financial benefits from the prison and "enforcement" business. Their wealth is brought to them on the backs and sorrows of those less financially and socially privileged than they.

You won't find many of the super "privileged", or their children, being ground up in that machine that you feel so righteous about feeding the flesh and souls of others into.

Anonymous said...

Wow Hope, sounds like you have some serious issues against the police. Just remember that they/we are enforcing the laws that have been put in place by the government. Crack cocaine is ilegal so I arrest people that have crack cocaine. Once it is no longer legal, I will not bother people who have it.

Go picket the capitol instead of slinging your accusations at law enforcement. We're just doing our job.

Anonymous said...

To my favorite, delusional, HIDTA secretary troll hater.

Every LEO is not out to get you, so relax.

I gotta agree with the last poster, Hope. Our legislators make the laws and we are hired to enforce them. I didn't "create" the Byrne fund or the idea of the regional narcotics Task Force. I was just chosen to work in one.

Oh yeah...gotta address this drivel.

When we end drug Prohibition, it's reasonable to conclude that a similar percentage of law enforcement corruption will be eliminated.

The most rediculous cause/effect fallacy that gets spouted over and over and over again by the "legalize dope" crowd.

You claim specific opportunity leads to criminals and corruption. I believe weak minds and souls are drawn to opportunity, regardless of the source. Absent drug laws won't make immoral LEO's walk the straight and narrow, so how's about you not make up a bunch of crap to further your agenda.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said... Go picket the capitol instead of slinging your accusations at law enforcement. We're just doing our job."

Your job? Police and government has been at war on drugs for 36 years! How much more time and monies do you guys need to win this war?

Oh that's right if you're a cop, you would prefer this war never ends! Your police departments would loose all their funding's from the FEDS and a lot of cops would be out of a job..

36 years police have been fighting the "war on drugs." Now you know why I would never call the police for help. They are useless at what they do!

cliff said...

"36 years police have been fighting the "war on drugs." Now you know why I would never call the police for help. They are useless at what they do!"

You know, I used to think that cops were here to help us. Now I know that they are only there to help themselves. Sadly, I would think long and hard before I called a cop for help. It would have to be for a really serious crime and it would probably be after the incident occurred.

cliff said...

"Absent drug laws won't make immoral LEO's walk the straight and narrow, so how's about you not make up a bunch of crap to further your agenda."

But it sure would dry up the nice fat salaries made for just enforcing drug laws rather than going out and doing something about all of the other crimes, that are way harder to solve and not as financially lucrative.

Anonymous said...

"...I didn't "create" the Byrne fund or the idea of the regional narcotics Task Force. I was just chosen to work in one."

Just so you know what kind of a whack job you're dealing with, most departments only send officers they CAN AFFORD to lose. The idea is to get money and you don't need your smart ones to get money.

So this guy thinks he was chosen because he's skilled and you can tell by his thoughts and his words what they think of him at the department around the public.

Drug task forces are havens for guys who want to be officer of the year because guys like this are right at home in miserable circumstances.

hope said...

Actually, anonymous, I have picketed the capitol. I've written letter after letter to politicians.

No, I do not dislike police or have the sort of "issues" you seem to hint at.

I do have some issues, in that I believe that some things need changing and improvement for the better, especially with the drug laws and some law enforcement methods used today and there seems to be a greater problem than there was at one time with more police officers attitude, arrogance, rudeness, coarseness, etc.., towards the general populace...which are all suspects of something these days.

A lot of people have the same feelings that I do, but most people are afraid to speak to you about their feelings. You all too often seem like dangerous, cruel, unapproachable, untrustworthy and trigger happy people. I'm not afraid to tell you how I feel, because I grew up around you. You've been my friends and helpers. I've known many of you on a personal and close basis and I've really loved some of you.

I respect and appreciate what the good officer is trying to do most of the time. I would prefer that the finer officers of today would have the same real admiration and respect that many of them used to have...even from the "criminal element" in times past. I want you to be truly worthy of honor and trust in the world today and I want to trust that you won't mistreat people just because you can.

I understand that as a sworn officer of the law you have to enforce the laws. I don't hold that against you. I want to see that those laws, that allow the "good guys" too much collateral damage, are changed and reformed as soon as possible. I'm a part of the I do think that we need to clean up the language, attitude, and dominator and terminator personality types that are showing up in greater numbers in our police today. I think officers should be worthy of respect, not fear...as the honorable men and women, the peacemakers and protectors that they should be. So many officers today seem to take such an arrogant, rude attitude with people.

Maybe it's the Welcome Back Cotter syndrome to the hilt...with dangerous weapons and tactics. I don't like that.

There are officers today that are more frightening to me than the average armed criminal out there. You know the ones I'm talking about. I would imagine they worry you, too. I can protect myself from the average person with criminal intent...but I can't protect myself against a nasty or rogue cop.

I do have "issues" in that I have a great aversion to the Robo Cops and cruel types out there. I hope you aren't one.

Just like in any ten people you could expect to find three "sorry" ones. Three out of ten "sorry" armed police officers is too many. We have to find a way to screen out the corruptible as well as the cruel officer. It's VERY important. Ending prohibition will do a lot to repair the rift between police and many average citizens. You won't have to worry about what that adult guy is smoking, drinking, eating, or injecting. He won't have to worry about you hating and hurting him for what he might be drinking, snorting, smoking, eating or injecting.

I want raids for drugs ended. One wrong house is too many and there have been way more than one. It really worries me that the "wrong house" is going to happen again. It really worries me about that next person in your dynamic entry that is going to be murdered because you thought the phone in his hand was a gun. I want the plea bargain crap to stop and the snitch society to end. Plea bargaining is a way of frightening a person into accepting guilt that he might not be guilty of…but you frighten him so for his loved ones or his future or seizure and imprisonment that he say nearly anything to escape your torturous clutches. The plea bargain is the enemy of justice. That's not right.

Drug crimes are really more like some sort of political crimes. One man's politics says "no drugs". The other man's says "My body is my own." The fact that all these things are common and policy, or politics as usual, doesn't mean that decent people can't do their best to change them.

I really don't expect that I, alone, have the power to make things better and change old ways that are not helping. But I do expect that I can have a voice and perhaps other voices will join me, perhaps even yours...yours would be powerful voice.

If enough of us raise our voices in insistence that we do something a better way...perhaps it can actually be done. I know, that by myself, I am powerless...other than a chattering in the wind. But a bunch of us together can make things better for everyone. I'm sure of that.

All of you anonymous folk, it would be so much easier to read and understand your comments if you could find a small way to differentiate yourself from each other.

SteveHeath said...

Anonymous Alleged Cop sez: Go picket the capitol instead of slinging your accusations at law enforcement. We're just doing our job.


SH: The Nuremberg defense is weak stuff.

I continue to find it fascinating that no cops will publicly defend Prohibition using their real name and agency.

kaptinemo said...

So long as there will be artificially inflated profits gained from the illict drug trade, there will be corruption. And as Al Capone so clearly put it, you don't have to corrupt everyone, just key people within the law and order community. That high level corruption puts all at risk, cop and civilian. Our grandparents realized there was only one way to stop that when they re-legalized alcohol; are we any less intelligent than they were, when the stakes today are so much higher but the solution remains just as viable??

Anonymous said...

The Nuremberg defense is weak stuff.

Whoop! The good ol' "Jack Booted Thug" reference! I love seeing that one! Fondly reminds me of my size 13D Danner Ft. Lewis boots, and how easily they can take a door off the hinges.

Seriously, though. Nazis and LEOs? Who hurt you, steveheath, and what can we do to help?

USpace said...

Great one, it's in, thanks!


absurd thought -
God of the Universe wants
all alcohol illegal...

increase black market profits
corrupt more law enforcement
.