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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 wee’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.

Posted in Law Enforcement Arrest | Leave a comment

South Texas officer accused of stealing drugs from a home

McALLEN— A criminal complaint unsealed this week accuses a South Texas police officer of stealing cocaine from a home in 2012 and then trying to cover up the theft by claiming he found the drugs in a car that he seized.

Hector “Jo Jo” Mendez faces a charge of possession with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, The Monitor newspaper in McAllen reported. Mendez is a 17-year veteran of the Mission Police Department who was assigned to a drug enforcement task force.

Mendez’s defense attorney, Carlos Garcia, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he has reviewed the criminal complaint and that his client denies the allegations.

Mendez is accused of stealing the drugs in July 2012 — several months after he lost a primary for Hidalgo County Precinct 2 constable.

He was questioned several times, including earlier this month, after investigators said he made several inconsistent statements. The complaint unsealed Monday states that Mendez has denied knowing of any drug theft.

Two former Mission police officers, Alexis Espinoza and Jonathan Trevino, were sentenced last year to lengthy terms for their roles in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that involved other law enforcement officers in the region.

Mendez could receive up to life in prison and a $10 million fine if convicted on the possession with intent to distribute charge.

Posted in Law Enforcement Arrest | Leave a comment

Silk Road drug dealer turned government witness gets 2-1/2 years in prison

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York computer consultant who appeared as a key government witness against the founder of the underground black market website Silk Road was sentenced on Tuesday to 2-1/2 years in prison.

Silk Road Ross ulbrichtRoss Ulbricht / FacebookSilk Road’s site operator, Ross Ulbricht, was convicted in February 2015.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-silk-road-drug-dealer-turned-government-witness-gets-2-12-years-in-prison-2015-7#ixzz3gcKxsoGl

Michael Duch, who earned $60,000 to $70,000 a month selling heroin on Silk Road using the alias “deezletime,” pleaded guilty in December 2014 to conspiring to sell drugs and testified against the site’s operator, Ross Ulbricht, at trial last year.

Ulbricht, who prosecutors said ran the site under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” was convicted in February and sentenced to life in prison in May by U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest.

Prosecutors said Silk Road generated upwards of $200 million in illicit drug sales in more than two years of operation before authorities shut it down in October 2013.

The site relied on the Tor network, which allows users to communicate anonymously. Vendors and buyers used the digital currency bitcoin as payment in order to conceal their identities and locations.

Duch, 41, will receive credit for the 21 months he has already been in custody.

His lawyer, Samuel Braverman, urged Forrest to release Duch to a drug treatment facility, saying his crimes were all tied to a crippling heroin addiction that he has finally put behind him.

But Forrest said that while she was willing to give Duch a significant break on his sentence, based on the cooperation he provided to the government, it would not be “the right thing” to release him just yet.

Before being sentenced, Duch apologized for his actions, saying his arrest was like “being slapped across the face.”

“This path has been extremely painful, but necessary, and truly I am thankful for it,” he told Forrest.

During Ulbricht’s trial, Duch said his addiction eventually led him to begin dealing the drug on Silk Road, which he had previously used to acquire painkillers. He testified that he did not know the identity of Dread Pirate Roberts.

Duch was arrested in Warwick, New York, on the same day that Ulbricht was taken into custody.

Posted in Drug Bust | Leave a comment

Mission police officer stole cocaine, faked drug bust

Federal agents arrested Mission police Officer Hector “Jo Jo” Mendez after uncovering a conspiracy to steal cocaine — and cover up the theft with a fake drug bust, according to court records unsealed Monday morning.

Federal Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos charged Mendez with possession with intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, according to federal court records.

The Mission Police Department had assigned Mendez, a veteran investigator, to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force.

Mendez remained in federal custody Monday and couldn’t be reached for comment. He didn’t have an attorney at Monday’s initial appearance.

FBI agents arrested Mendez on Friday after investigating allegations about a fake cocaine bust during July 2012, according to the criminal complaint against him.

At about 5 p.m. on July 29, 2012, Mendez seized a 1998 Ford Taurus from the Ace’s BBQ parking lot in Mission, according to the criminal complaint. Mendez and other Mission Police Department officers pulled 15 bundles of cocaine from the trunk the next day after obtaining a search warrant.

The officers arrested Salvador Gonzalez, who was charged with possession with intent to distribute the cocaine.

Tests revealed the bundles contained poor quality cocaine with about 18 percent purity, according to the criminal complaint.

Gonzalez later told investigators that the drug bust had been staged, according to the criminal complaint. Gonzalez said he delivered the cocaine to a Mission home, not Ace’s BBQ.

“Gonzales also stated that the bundles he delivered were packaged differently than those represented in the photographs provided by Mendez as part of the investigation,” according to the criminal complaint. “Gonzales stated that he never utilized the Ford Taurus to deliver the cocaine to any destination.”

FBI agents later tracked down a confidential source who worked with Mendez.

“CS1 stated Mendez had arranged to dilute (‘cut’) the cocaine so that the bulk of the narcotics could be stolen and re-distributed for a profit,” according to the criminal complaint. “CS1 stated that Mendez arranged for the staged seizure of the cocaine on July 29, 2012, order to conceal the theft.”

  

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Violent Mexican drug cartels send drugs, people into US

The infamous drug lord dodged two surveillance cameras.

The video shows the diminutive Guzman – his nickname means “Shorty” – changing footwear before heading back to the shower for the last time, bending down behind a dividing wall and vanishing.

And the newly released closed-circuit video shows how calmly and easily he did it.Mexican officials concede that the drug lord exploited the obvious blind spot, his shower stall, which was deliberately set up to protect the inmate’s privacy.

Amid mounting outrage at the escape, lawmakers in Congress asked Osorio Chong and other top security officials to testify on Thursday.

As well as CCTV, Guzman wore a bracelet that monitored his movement, which was left behind.

Guzman had to squeeze in next to a pipe to make his way down.

Osorio Chong said the tunnel was 19 metres (about 62 feet) below the surface and he called it a “high-tech” breach of the prison’s extensive security measures, which include 750 cameras and 26 security filters.

Mexican security chiefs were aghast and the government said the breakout could only have taken place with the help of prison guards and officials, and fired the prison’s director.

A nearly $4 million reward is being offered for his capture, and three prison officials have lost their jobs following Guzman’s escape.

The cartel has smuggled billions of dollars worth of drugs into the United States and has been blamed for thousands of deaths.

Did DEA know of past plots? (Authorities discovered the escape hatch after they realized Guzman was gone.).

After his first prison escape in 2001, it’s believed he spent most of his time in the Golden Triangle, the mountainous section of Mexico where Sinaloa abuts Durango and Sonoro. The US wants a joint task force formed with Mexico to track Guzman down again, but thus far Mexico has refused to join it. The picture is getting pretty clear: Mexico put a lot of money into springing El Chapo for some reason, and they clearly don’t want him in U.S. hands.

The tunnel that one of Mexico’s most notorious and richest drug lords used in his latest prison escape has now been explored.

A tunnel of such sophistication would normally take 18 months to two years to complete, said Jim Dinkins, former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Guzman has been a nightmare for both sides of the border.

Mexican investigators have pieced together how the convicted drug kingpin made his way to freedom.

United States prosecutors had expressed interest in getting his extradition after his February 2014 arrest, but the Mexican authorities indicated that they wanted to try him first.

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Bishops across Mexico expressed incredulity


Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez Gonzalez, center, looks into the entrance of a tunnel connected to the Altiplano Federal Penitentiary and used by drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to escape in this July 12 photo. The house where the tunnel is located is Almoloya de Juarez, on the outskirts of Mexico City. (CNS photo/PGR – Attorney General’s Office Handout via Reuters)

 

MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Bishops across Mexico expressed incredulity with the escape of the country’s most notorious inmate and said it showed the complicity of public officials with drug cartels and the depth of corruption in the country.

Drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman slipped out of a maximum-security prison — for the second time in his criminal career — from the shower area of his cell through a nearly mile-long tunnel to a rural settlement.

“Mexicans should make a monument to ‘El Chapo’ because, in a single stroke, he showed the size of our corruption,” Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo told reporters.

“It’s hard to understand an escape by a person like him from an extremely high security center if there isn’t complicity,” said Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara.

Guzman is leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, which grew into the most powerful and quite possibly profitable criminal organization as it moved drugs from the Andean countries of South America through Central America and Mexico to the United States and other countries. The cartel gained fame for its construction of tunnels to move drugs under the U.S.-Mexico border.

The cartel is so culturally and economically ingrained in Sinaloa that Guzman’s escape was greeted with “music” and “guns being fired in the air,” said Javier Valdez, founder of the Sinaloa news outlet Rio Doce. “He continued being a powerful person from his prison cell.”

Guzman was captured in Guatemala in 1993, but he was wheeled out of a Guadalajara-area prison in a laundry cart. Mexican officials captured him in Mazatlan in February 2014 and locked him up in a high-security facility 50 miles west of Mexico City — opting against extraditing him to the United States.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto called the escape “outrageous.” After Guzman’s 2014 arrest, he told Univision that another escape would be “unpardonable.”

“The country’s creditability was scarce, and with these events the creditability that we do enjoy is shaken, in spite of the publicity and all of the promises that are given,” said Bishop Jose Martinez Zepeda of Irapuato. He was quoted in the newspaper Correo in his home state of Guanajuato.

“We have a crisis of creditability, justice, legality and a common effort,” the bishop added. “Criticisms are going to rain down … because (the president’s) publicity has been that, in the country, crime has calmed … and (then) there’s an escape from a high-security prison.”

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Easton Police Commissioner Arrested on Federal Drug Charges

NBC10.com

An Easton police commissioner is facing federal charges after a wiretap revealed his involvement in an international steroid and prescription drug trafficking ring, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Raymond Martin, 48, a member of the Easton Police Commission, was arrested Tuesday and charged with conspiring to possess and sell oxycodone. He’s one of a dozen people arrested in connection with the case.

Federal prosecutors said a court-authorized wiretap caught Martin texting other members of the drug trafficking ring about selling anabolic steroids and oxycodone.

Federal authorities investigating the case seized hundreds of vials of steroids, 600 grams of raw testosterone powder, more than 1,000 oxycodone pills, 350 grams of powder cocaine and four long guns, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Martin could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.

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Atlantic City police sergeant accused of helping drug dealer boyfriend buy Camaro

Camden, N.J. (AP) — An Atlantic City police sergeant lied about her relationship with a convicted drug dealer and made $120,000 in cash bank deposits in small amounts to avoid raising suspicions, authorities said Monday in announcing her arrest.Sgt. Kiyia Harris, 39, lied when she said she did not know her boyfriend was on probation and wearing an electronic monitoring device on his ankle for a time, federal prosecutors said. Though charging documents list

Harris, who lives in Egg Harbor Township, was arrested Monday by FBI agents and appeared later in the day in federal court, where she seemed distraught as she nervously fidgeted while a judge explained the charges.

“She is a decorated, very well respected and highly devoted Atlantic City police officer, with impeccable character” her lawyer, James Leonard, said after her court appearance. “We look forward to our day in court.”

In court filings, federal prosecutors say Harris made $120,000 in cash deposits in her bank accounts from 2007 through last year — all in increments of under than $10,000 each. Banks are required to report deposits greater than that amount to regulators.

She was charged with structuring deposits regarding two transactions totaling nearly $18,000. The other $102,000 in such deposits were listed as examples of false statements to investigators, who said she had denied making such cash deposits when she was interviewed by the FBI in December.

She’s also accused of making false statements regarding her relationship with a convicted drug dealer who was identified in court papers only by the initials D.W. He was on probation from 2010 through last year and was arrested again in December 2014 in her home.

Authorities say Harris told the FBI she had only a few financial dealings with him, including sharing one credit card, running a sneaker store together and paying his E-ZPass bill. But the government said she had many financial dealings with him, including making a $6,500 payment on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“I believe Harris attempted to concoct a story by which she could plausibly deny having seen D.W.’s electronic monitoring device,” FBI special agent Jessica Weisman said in an affidavit — even though it was on his ankle for more than three months in 2013.

Harris was released from custody Monday on a list of conditions, including that she not leave New Jersey without permission. No further court appearances are to be scheduled until at least September.

Read More: Prosecutors – Police sergeant made false statements to FBI | http://nj1015.com/prosecutors-police-sergeant-made-false-statements-to-fbi/?trackback=tsmclip

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6 Philadelphia officers get their badges back after acquittal, report says

Gavel.

PHILADELPHIA — The six city narcotics police officers who were acquitted of federal corruption charges by a jury earlier this year have been given their jobs back,

Philadelphia officers Thomas Liciardello, Michael Spicer, John Speiser, Brian Reynolds, Perry Betts, and Linwood Norman were originally fired by the city department after they were arrested in the summer, according to reports.

The six officers dealt with federal trial by jury and were found not guilty of all charges in May.

Additionally, all six police officer will reportedly receive $90,000 in backpay as well as be given back their badges.

The arrest and trial stems back to last summer when the six officers were accused of stealing from, beating and threatening drug suspects through several years time, according to reports.

The arrests were made after former narcotics officer Jeffrey Walker was caught by federal agents stealing money from a drug house, reports said, and pleaded guilty.

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Mexican drug lord with NH ties escapes prison

Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, center, is escorted by soldiers during a presentation at the Navy’s airstrip in Mexico City in this Feb. 22, 2014 file photo. Mexico’s most notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has escaped from his high security prison in central Mexico, the country’s national security commission (CNS) said on Sunday. (REUTERS/Henry Romero/Files)
Law enforcement officials in Mexico launched a manhunt Sunday to find a drug kingpin with ties to New Hampshire who broke out of prison a second time, according to a statement from the country’s National Security Commission.

Guards at the Altiplano Federal Prison in Mexico discovered during a routine check on Saturday that Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as “El Chapo,” was missing, a statement from the commission said.According to a report from Reuters, “El Chapo” snuck out of the prison through a subterranean tunnel more than 1 mile long that ended at an abandoned property near the local town, National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido told reporters Sunday.

Guzman, who bribed his way out of prison in 2001, was seen on video entering his shower area at 8:52 p.m. on Saturday, then disappeared, the National Security Commission said.

Wanted by U.S. prosecutors and once featured in the Forbes list of billionaires, Guzman was gone by the time guards entered his cell in Altiplano prison in central Mexico, the commission said.

“This is going to be a massive black eye for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration,” Mike Vigil, former head of global operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, told Reuters. “I don’t think they took into account the cunning of Chapo Guzman and the unlimited resources he has. If Chapo Guzman is able to make it back to the mountainous terrain that he knows so well in the state of Sinaloa…he may never be captured again.”

Guzman is known as the boss of one of the world’s most powerful and deadly drug trafficking operations, the Sinaloa Cartel.

Last October, a U.S. District Court jury in New Hampshire convicted Rafael Humberto Celaya Valenzuela of conspiracy to distribute drugs, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

Some of the meetings in the conspiracy took place in New Hampshire. Acting U.S. Attorney Don Feith said Valenzuela and three co-conspirators who pleaded guilty, Manuel Gutierrez Guzman, Samuel Zazueta Valenzuela and Jesus Palazuelos Soto, were members of the Sinaloa cartel.

Guzman is under indictment in multiple jurisdictions in the United States, including the District of New Hampshire. Kacavas said Celaya Velenzuela, who identified himself as an attorney and financial planner for El Chapo and the cartel, and his co-conspirators, were involved in the Sinaloa cartel’s effort to set up new cocaine distribution routes from South America to Europe, Canada and the United States. Beginning in 2010 and continuing through August 2012, undercover FBI agents posing as members of a European organized crime syndicate met with the cartel representatives.

Audio and video recordings were made of many of those meetings and portions of the recordings were played for jurors in Celaya Valenzuela’s trial.The recordings showed him and several of the co-conspirators attending meetings in Miami, Boston, Madrid, Spain, and Portsmouth and New Castle.

Operation Dark Water began in 2009 when a link to the Sinaloa Cartel was discovered in Massachusetts. The cartel intended to ship 1,000 pounds of cocaine monthly to Spain, he said, with some to be distributed for sale to New Hampshire and other areas.

- See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150712/NEWS03/150719773&source=RSS#sthash.l5nw2kou.dpuf

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