Police Corruption (STDW)
Oregon's medical marijuana dispensary regulation bill has gone back to the Senate with compromise language allowing only temporary local bans, a GOP US Senate candidate there says legalize it, Chuck Schumer fights heroin, Canada's Tories look to be going soft on pot law enforcement, and more. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy
Alaska Legalization Debate Draws Hundreds. A week after the Alaska marijuana legalization initiative was officially certified for the ballot, hundreds of people streamed into the Wendy Williamson Auditorium at the University of Alaska in Anchorage for a debate on marijuana policy. In an opening speech, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance called the war on drugs "a rat hole of waste" and that marijuana prohibition was "grounded in bigotry, prejudice, and ignorance." Then a panel of five people, including Nadelmann, as well as an anti-legalization Project Sam representative, went at it. Click on the title link for more.
Another Missouri Legalization Initiative Approved for Signature-Gathering. Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander approved a marijuana legalization initiative for signature gathering Wednesday. This is not one of the initiatives filed by Show-Me Cannabis, which had a bakers' dozen of similarly-worded initiatives approved earlier this year, but has decided to wait until 2016 for its effort. The initiative has a May 4 deadline for handing in petitions, and must obtain signatures from registered voters equal to 8% of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts.
Maryland Sheriffs Rally Against Legalization. Local sheriffs attended a rally in Annapolis to voice opposition to proposed legislation to decriminalize marijuana in Maryland Wednesday. Sheriffs from the Eastern Shore and local police chiefs attended a rally sponsored by the Maryland Sheriff's Association and its supporters. The sheriffs are taking a stand against legalizing marijuana in Maryland, as lawmakers ponder a legalization bill.
Oregon GOP US Senate Candidate Endorses Legalization. Portland attorney Tim Crawley, who is seeking the Republican US Senate nomination, favors marijuana legalization. In a press release this week, he said he had "long been concerned with the tremendous waste of money and human potential the criminalization of marijuana has involved." In a subsequent interview, Crawley said he would support a legalization initiative in Oregon and if elected to the Senate, he would support removing marijuana from the controlled substances list.
Oregon House Passes Dispensary Regulation Bill With Only Temporary Local Bans. The statewide dispensary legalization and regulation bill, Senate Bill 1531, passed out of the House on Wednesday with a provision allowing localities to ban dispensaries, but only for a year while they develop regulations for them. The Senate has already passed a version without the temporary ban language, but is expected to accept this compromise language.
Florida CBD Medical Marijuana Bill Advances with House Committee Vote. A bill that would allow the use of high-CBD cannabis oil to treat seizure disorders passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Wednesday. House Bill 843 now heads for the House Judiciary Committee.
South Carolina Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced. A bill to allow patients with specified diseases and conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation to use and grow their own medicine or purchase it at dispensaries has been introduced. House Bill 4879, filed by Minority Leader Rep. J. Todd Rutherford (D-Columbia, has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Schumer Wants New York Heroin Database. US Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) called Wednesday for a standardized heroin database to fight crime and addiction related to the drug's use. "Data and information sharing drives solutions, and we're seriously lacking in that department," said Schumer. "All we know for sure is heroin is ravaging families across New York state." He called on the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to help set up a statewide "Drugstat" database to track heroin use patterns, hospitalizations, and overdoses, which he said could help police combat the drug.
California Informants Sue San Luis Obispo Over Rogue Narc. A civil lawsuit recently filed in federal court against the city and county of San Luis Obispo by two former confidential informants of disgraced narcotics detective Cory Pierce charges that Pierce allegedly forced the female informant to have sex with him. Pierce is currently serving a prison term for corruption. According to prosecutors in his federal trial, both informants aided Pierce in acquiring cash, oxycodone and heroin, and now allege that they were forced into indentured servitude, including being kept addicted to drugs and engaging in dangerous and illegal activities. According to prosecutors, Pierce used the informants to set up drug buys with local dealers, then later robbed them. He is currently in prison. The federal lawsuit alleges that Pierce used his position as a detective to force the woman into engaging in sex with him, including an act of oral copulation, and on another occasion, forced sexual intercourse, the suit alleges. In an additional incident, Pierce allegedly pushed and rubbed his body up against her. Click on the link for more sleazy details.
Canada's Tories Hint at Move Toward Ticketing Marijuana Possession Offenders. Conservative Justice Minister Peter Mackay said Wednesday that the government is seriously considering looser marijuana laws that would allow police to ticket anyone caught with small amounts of pot instead of laying charges, Justice Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday. "We're not talking about decriminalization or legalization," MacKay said prior to the weekly Conservative caucus meeting on Parliament Hill. "The Criminal Code would still be available to police, but we would look at options that would... allow police to ticket those types of offenses." Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau has called for legalization.
Vancouver Police Say They Won't Bother with Busting Dispensaries. All but a handful of medical marijuana dispensaries are supposed to be illegal after Canada's new medical marijuana law comes into effect April 1, but Vancouver police said Wednesday they are not going to bother them unless there are signs they are selling to people without a medical marijuana permit. "I don't think for now there is any plan to change the current drug policy that is in place to fit specifically with these changes," said Constable Brian Montague. "We don't have plans for massive raids on April 2nd."
(This article was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)
A major scandal envelopes five San Francisco police officers, a former Illinois probation officer heads for prison in the cocaine death of an Illinois judge, a Kentucky drug task force commander cops to ripping off his employers, and more. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:right caption:true]In San Francisco, five San Francisco police officers were indicted last Thursday on a host of federal charges, including constitutional-rights violations, extortion, lying in court and on police reports, and dealing drugs. The officers were all part of plainclothes investigation teams whose alleged misdeeds in searches conducted at single-room-occupancy hotels in the Mission district, the Tenderloin and on Sixth Street -- including searching rooms without warrants -- were captured on video discovered by the Public Defender's Office in 2011. They are Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, of Pleasant Hill; Officer Edmond Robles, 46, of Danville; Officer Arshad Razzak, 41, of San Francisco; Officer Richard Yick, 37, of San Francisco; and Officer Raul Eric Elias, 44, of San Mateo. All have been suspended without pay.
In Ballston Spa, New York, a Saratoga County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday on drug charges. Deputy Charles Fuller, 46, went down in a sting after a snitch and an undercover FBI agent made a deal to buy a pound of cocaine from him. He is charged with attempting to aid and abet the possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. If convicted, Fuller faces a maximum of 40 years in prison, and a $5,000,000 fine.
In Taft, California, a federal prison guard was arrested Tuesday on charges he was smuggling drugs and other contraband into the Taft Federal Facility. Ramon Cano is accused of selling meth, cocaine, and heroin to inmates, along with syringes. He went down in a sting after accepting 28 grams of meth and 28 grams of heroin from FBI undercover agents posing as drug dealers. He is charged with possession of meth and heroin with intent to distribute. He's out on bail.
In Belleville, Illinois, a former St. Clair County probation officer was sentenced last Thursday for his role in the death of St. Clair County Judge Joe Christ, who died last year of a cocaine overdose while on a fishing trip. James Fogarty, 46, was sentenced to five years in prison on cocaine distribution and firearms charges as part of a plea deal. Fogarty admitted selling cocaine to Christ and another judge the night before Chris died, but the state could not prove the cocaine he sold was responsible for Christ's death.
In Lexington, Kentucky, the former director of a drug task force pleaded guilty last Friday to stealing federal funds from the task force. Timothy George Fegan, 52, had run the Buffalo Trace/Gateway Narcotics Task Force and admitted taking cash proceeds that task force agents had seized during drug raids, as well as taking "buy money" on hand for undercover drug deals. The amount he stole will be determined during sentencing, which hasn't been set yet.
A drug court probation officer parties down with one of his clients, a Georgia cop goes to prison for ripping off a drug dealer, and so does a Philadelphia cop. Keep an eye on Philly. The stench is really rising there. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:left]In Philadelphia, a former Philadelphia narcotics officer pleaded guilty Monday to attempted robbery and firearms charges for stealing $15,000 from a Southwest Philly drug dealer after planting cocaine in his car. Jeffrey Walker, a 24-year veteran of the department, also agreed to testify against his former colleagues in a widening federal probe of corruption in the dope squad, and his lawyer said his crimes paled in comparison with those of other implicated officers.
In Atlanta, a former Clayton County police officer was sentenced last Friday to 10 years in federal prison for conspiring with a drug dealer to do a fake traffic stop on a car so they could steal the cocaine inside. Dwayne Penn copped to one count of conspiracy to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine.
In Springfield, Illinois, the former head probation officer for the Adams County drug court was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail and 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to turning his home into a "drug house." John Grotts was arrested in April 2012 after a search of his home turned up meth and a female drug court probationer, who was also arrested.
Bad cop, bad cop, whatcha gonna do when they come for you? A Seattle-area drug task force deputy defects to the life, a Louisiana deputy parties too hard with stolen drug evidence, a Georgia cop resigns over pills, and more. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:left]In Lilburn, Georgia, a Lilburn police officer resigned last Monday amid an investigation of improper drug handling. Investigator Kim Banks is under investigation by the Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office after an officer assigned to the Evidence Unit discovered irregularities in prescription drug evidence. The matter is under both internal and criminal investigation.
In Seattle, a former King County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Monday on drug distribution charges. Mitch Wright, a 10-year veteran who worked on a joint narcotics task force, went down after an investigation involving local law enforcement and the DEA that began when a woman was arrested using drugs in a car belonging to him. That led to evidence of more criminal activity. Wright then resigned before being fired, but his home was searched and he was arrested on state drug, theft, and evidence tampering charges. He then began hanging out in "high narcotic and prostitution areas" in north King and south Snohomish counties, which sparked the DEA's assistance. He now faces federal conspiracy and narcotics distribution charges.
In Denham Springs, Louisiana, a Livingston Parish sheriff's deputy was arrested last Friday after shooting a gun in his neighborhood and wrecking his car, where deputies found a sheriff's office narcotics evidence envelope. Deputy Leo Barthelmy, Jr. That led them to his home, where the shots were fired earlier that day. He is charged with malfeasance in office/tampering with evidence, and illegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities. The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office says he has been released on a $25,000 bond.
In Los Angeles, an LAPD officer was convicted last Thursday of lying under oath in a drug case. Officer Bernardo Ortiz is the third of three LAPD officers convicted over a 2008 drug possession arrest in which they claimed the defendant had thrown down drugs, but surveillance camera video contradicted their testimony. Charges against the drug defendant were dropped, and Ortiz and the other two cops, Evan Samuel and Rachard Amio, were charged. The latter two were convicted in November 2012, but a jury in that trial deadlocked on Ortiz, and he was retried. Ortiz was convicted of one count each of conspiracy and perjury under oath.
In Dallas, a former Arlington police officer was sentenced last Tuesday to a year in prison for tipping off a steroid dealer the cops were after him. Thomas Kantzos, 45, went down for using a law enforcement data base to run a license plate number for his steroid dealer, who correctly thought he was under law enforcement surveillance. He pleaded guilty in October to an indictment charging exceeding access to a protected computer.
A felonious foursome of public servants made the hall of shame this week. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:right caption:true]In Savannah, Georgia, a Savannah-Chatham police sergeant was arrested Sunday for lying to the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team during a 2010 investigation into corruption around drug trafficking. Sgt. Malik Abdul Khaalis had already been indicted for false statements in January, but has now been hit with two felony counts of violation of oath by a public officer and seven felony counts of false statements and writings.
In Buffalo, New York, a former Buffalo police officer pleaded guilty last Thursday to selling marijuana. James Hamilton Sr., 29, sold a half pound of marijuana to a snitch working for federal investigators. After the arrest, authorities seized 80 marijuana plants and more than three pounds of marijuana from his Buffalo home. He faces up to five years in prison when he's sentenced June 18.
In Baltimore, a former Baltimore police officer was sentenced last Thursday to five years in federal prison for agreeing to run a tax scam with someone she thought was a heroin dealer. Ashley Roane, 26, agreed to steal personal information from police databases so a tax preparer could file false returns. The tax preparer was an FBI snitch who also proposed a drug deal to Roane, who agreed to check whether a source for heroin was an informant and to provide protection when the deal went down. She made $6,000 for her efforts. She pleaded guilty to extortion and identity theft.
In Norfolk, Virginia, a former Virginia Beach probation officer was sentenced last Friday to 6 ½ years in federal prison for selling methamphetamine with her husband. Katherine Kephart, 31, admitted trafficking meth between Virginia and North Carolina, as well as using her position to check names and license plate numbers of prospective partners to see if they were under court supervision or working as informants. She copped to one count of conspiracy to possess and distribute more than five grams of the drugs. So did her husband, who got the same sentence.
Some cops like to party too hearty. Others just want a little pocket change. This week, we have four law enforcement miscreants. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:left]In Monticello, Kentucky, a former Monticello police officer was arrested last Tuesday on charges he was passing on law enforcement information to a drug dealer. Allen Braden is accused of providing the drug dealer with information about an ongoing drug investigation, including the home addresses, vehicles, and family members of the agents investigating him. Braden allegedly got $100 a week for his efforts. He is now charged with bribery.
In Somerville, Massachusetts, a Massachusetts special state police officer was arrested last Friday after selling cocaine to undercover officers and telling them he could also score them molly. William Kelly, 32, is charged with possession of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute. He was a police officer at the Cambridge Health Alliance and was sworn in as a special state police officer as part of his job.
In Pahrump, Nevada, a Nye County sheriff's deputy was arrested last Saturday after he got caught stealing prescription drugs from an elderly woman's home. Sgt. Michael Horn aroused the suspicions of his colleagues when he insisted on logging a bottle of morphine pills into evidence, and when narcotics officers counted the pills after he logged them in, 60 were missing. He had taken the pills from the woman after going to her home for a report of a suspicious noise. He then told her he had to confiscate the pills because they were a Schedule II controlled substance. Fellow deputies searched Horn and found the missing pills, and a subsequent search of his official vehicle turned up liquid morphine, pain pills prescribed to a woman, and 15 different pill bottles. He also failed a drug test. He is charged with drug possession, DUI, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, coercion, burglary, unlawful use of a controlled substance, oppression under color of office, larceny, and possession of stolen property.
In Denver, a former Littleton police officer was sentenced Tuesday to four years in federal prison on drug and firearms charges. Jeffrey Allan Johnston, 46, was arrested last July while attempting to buy $1300 worth of ecstasy from an undercover agent. He was also accused of holding house parties at his home, where police found cocaine, steroids, prescription pills, cash, and guns. He copped to one count each of prohibited person in possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute.
Two cops go down for providing info to drug dealers, a DARE officer who ripped off the program gets a slap on the wrist, a Philly narc entangled with a snitch gets entangled with lies, and another prison guard gets popped. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:left]In Denver, a former Glendale police officer was arrested last Thursday on federal charges he used law enforcement computers to check license plates for an alleged cocaine dealer. Scott Black, 39, is charged with unauthorized use of a computer and lying to FBI agents, as well as conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to a computer database and using a communications facility to help drug trafficking. He's looking at up to 29 years in prison.
In Honolulu, a Halawa Correctional Facility guard was arrested Sunday on charges he smuggled methamphetamine into the prison. Mark Damas, 45, was arrested at the prison in Oahu, then transferred to Honolulu where he faces one count of conspiracy to distribute and possessing with the intent to distribute five grams or more of meth. He's the second guard this month to get busted for smuggling meth into the prison. Guard James "Kimo" Sanders III pleaded not guilty on January 13 to charges related to smuggling meth into the prison and bribery.
In Monticello, Kentucky, a former Monticello police officer was arrested Tuesday on charges he gave details about an ongoing investigation to a drug dealer. Allen Braden allegedly gave the dealer information including the home addresses, vehicles, and family members of drug agents investigating him. In return, Braden got $100 a week. He is charged with bribery of a public servant and theft by unlawful taking, the latter charge for not returning his official weapon when he was fired. He is out on bond.
In Troy, Ohio, a former Troy DARE officer was sentenced Monday to 60 days in jail and five years probation for stealing more than $13,000 intended for the DARE program. Kirt Wright, 41, had pleaded guilty to felony theft in office in December. Wright admitted misusing a credit card issued for the DARE program between January 2008 and May 2013. He was a 14-year-veteran of the department.
In Philadelphia, a former Philadelphia narcotics officer was convicted last Friday of lying to federal investigators about his romantic relationship with a snitch. Robertito Fontan had recruited the woman as a snitch, then got involved with her in 2003. He was accused of tipping her off in 2007 that the DEA was investigating her former boyfriend, a reputed drug dealer. He was convicted of lying to FBI agents investigating possible leaks at DEA.
The stench grows in Philadelphia, a parole officer gets caught stealing parolee's pills, a reserve cop tries to trade dope for sex, and jail guards continue to go wild. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:right]In Philadelphia, seven police officers have been pulled from drug investigations amidst an ongoing corruption probe. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey confirmed Friday that the Philadelphia police Internal Affairs unit is working jointly with the FBI and federal prosecutors in the probe that has already seen one of the officers arrested and led to the dismissal of hundreds of drug charges. Although the officers were transferred out of narcotics in December 2012, it wasn't officially acknowledged until Ramsey's comments. Since then, the city and the department have also been sued 40 times in federal court, with some lawsuits alleging officers framed people with false evidence and testimony and others alleged police stole their property and roughed them up.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, a Prairieville Township Police reserve officer was arrested last Wednesday on charges he solicited sex in exchange for drugs. Michael Strong, 37, went down after a tipster talked to authorities, and the Michigan State Police and Southwest Enforcement Team set up a sting. Strong was arrested after he met an undercover officer at a local hotel and offered drugs for sex. He is charged with one count of delivery of amphetamine and one count of felony firearms. The drugs reportedly came from "friends," not the evidence room. He's looking at up to seven years in state prison.
In Paris, Kentucky, a Bourbon County Regional Jail guard was arrested last Wednesday for smuggling drugs into the jail after state police raided his home and found narcotics. Officer Jimmy Billups, Jr., 45, came under suspicion during an investigation by the State Police. He is charged with conspiracy to traffic in a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. He was last reported on the other side of the bars at the neighboring Scott County Detention Center.
In Greenwich, New York, a state parole officer was arrested last Thursday on charges she took drugs from her parolees for her own use and falsified records to cover it up. Stacey Sullivan, 43, would find the drugs on her parolees, but instead of turning them in for parole violations, would keep and use them herself. She went down after colleagues saw her seizing drugs, but failing to log them in. She faces a felony count of falsifying business records and a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct. She has been released pending prosecution.
In Vidalia, Louisiana, a Concordia Parish jail guard was arrested last Thursday on charges he smuggled synthetic marijuana and cell phones into the jail. David Earl Bell, Jr., 23, went down after surveillance cameras caught "strange activity," and the parish sheriff's office investigated. He confessed when confronted by police. He is charged with introduction of contraband into a penal institute and malfeasance in office.
In Plainfield, Indiana, a Plainfield Correctional Facility jail guard was arrested last Friday after he got caught smuggling marijuana and tobacco into the jail inside a bowl of frozen food. James Thomas was carrying 69 grams of weed and a half-pound of tobacco when he got nailed. He is charged with trafficking and dealing in marijuana. He's been suspended without pay and was last reported residing at the Hendricks County Jail.
In Washington, DC, a former Price Georges County (MD) officer pleaded guilty last Wednesday to providing law enforcement information to a drug trafficking group. Vanessa Edwards-Hamm was one of 17 people indicted in July 2013 in connection with a major DC trafficking ring that purveyed cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and prescription pills. She was indicted on one count each of tampering with documents or proceedings and unlawful notice of electronic surveillance, but copped to a single count of unlawfully disclosing information about a wiretap being used on a target of a law enforcement investigation. She's looking at up to five years in the federal pen.
This week, we have a trio of jail guards gone bad, as well as another cop with a pain pill problem and sticky fingers. That's a bad combination. Let's get to it:
[image:1 align:right]In Miami, a Miami-Dade jail officer was arrested last Friday on charges he smuggled drugs and cell phones into the Miami-Dade County Jail. Officer Lavar Lewis, 27, also known as "The Love Doctor," went down after a 19-month investigation into persistent smuggling at the jail. At least three other jail guards are under investigation in the ongoing probe. Lewis, a day shift officer since his hire in November 2008, has been suspended since September 2013. He was charged with unlawful compensation and conspiracy to introduce contraband into a jail and was being held Friday night at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in West Miami-Dade.
In Honolulu, a Halawa prison guard was arrested Monday on charges he was smuggling methamphetamine into the prison. James Sanders III was indicted by a federal grand jury after an FBI investigation. The indictment accuses him of distributing at least five grams on one occasion and at least 50 grams on another. He is charged with two counts each of distributing methamphetamine, conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and bribery. He's out on bond already, but forbidden from working in any prison.
In Baltimore, a jail guard was sentenced last Wednesday to 3 ½ years in prison for her role in a vast drug-smuggling operation at the Baltimore City Detention Center. Adrena Rice is one of nine jail guards who have pleaded guilty in the conspiracy. She admitted to smuggling contraband including marijuana and prescription pills into the lock-up. She had copped to one count of racketeering conspiracy.
In Price, Utah, a former Carbon County sheriff's deputy was sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail for stealing drugs out of the evidence room. Christopher Howard Basso, 38, must also undergo substance abuse treatment and limit himself to one doctor and one pharmacy. Basso was put on leave in January 2013 after failing two drug tests, but suspicious colleagues noticed he was continuing to enter the sheriff's office without permission and set up a surveillance camera that caught him breaking into the evidence room. In a plea bargain, the 13-year veteran copped to possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, and trespassing.