Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Kingsville task force officer convicted of stealing seized drug funds

When Governor Rick Perry eliminated funding for Texas' regional drug task forces two years ago, we heard a string of complaints continuing to this day that his action was in response to "one bad apple" in Tulia, and that others made positive contributions. Ironically, though, two years after their demise, Texas drug task forces still are generating some of Texas' most eye-popping law enforcement scandals.

In Kingsville, drug task force officer Jose Ibarra was convicted for stealing $46,000 from seized drug monies betweein 2004 and 2006, when the task force closed its doors, reported the Corpus Christi Caller Times ("Ex-drug task force officer will pay back funds," April 4):
As part of a plea agreement, a judge sentenced Ibarra to 10 years probation and 250 hours of community service. He also was ordered to make monthly payments for the next nine years to pay off about $55,000. That figure includes the funds he embezzled from the Kingsville Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force and the cost of an audit.
Though it's definitely on the light side, I'm personally fine with that sentence - restitution is a more important outcome, and likely a more severe punishment, than a short incarceration stint. But it's sure not a typical outcome for second degree felony theft; there are a lot of people doing time in Texas prisons today for stealing a lot less than Officer Ibarra.



jigmeister said...

Law enforcement officers have a greater duty to obey the law than anyone else. They hold a public trust with an extreme amount of power. Abuse of that power has no excuse. This sentence is obscenely light and sets a bad precedent to others that hold a public trust. It doesn't even appear from the story that the judge required jail time as a condition of the probation. I am surprised that there isn't more critism of that sentence.

Unknown said...

Yes, but this is like stealing from the mob. All asset forfeiture really amounts to is profit sharing with criminals. So in effect these funds are mob money shared with police to save taxpayer monies on likely unsuccessful prosecution of the dealers. If you steal from other criminals a lot worse than prison will result.

Anonymous said...

Well Hopefully they investigate Big Spring tx Task force. Few weeks back under cover agent killed Patrick Rios in cold blood. also they have done so many indictments that its pathetic. Task force agents have been known to give Alcohol and drugs to minors. Where is Justice in all this ???