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Top News Story! Drug Money!
March 10, 2011
(Elgin police officer Chris Jensen, Lt. Jeff Adam, Chief Jeff Swoboda, Mayor Ed Schock and state Rep. Keith Farnham discuss proposed legislation that would make drug dealers reimburse police costs.)
A bill introduced in Springfield could make drug dealers pay for police officers’ time investigating them, officials said at a press conference in Elgin. The money collected would be used to purchase law enforcement equipment, but the state would get a cut of the cash, according to the bill from Rep. Keith Farnham, an Elgin Democrat.
“I’m really proud of this piece of legislation because this is … I consider it a grassroots piece of legislation that came from within the community,” Farnham said at the Elgin Police Department Monday.
Elgin police officer Chris Jensen and Lt. Jeff Adam suggested it to Farnham and said investigating drug dealers and executing search warrants can be expensive as the city’s Tactical Response Team may get involved and result in overtime pay.
“Why should taxpayers have to foot this bill?” Jensen said. “We should put this on the people selling the drugs.” Adam sees the measure as a possible deterrent to drug dealers.
“Also, it’s a touch of irony if the drug dealers have to pay for our time to investigate them,” he said.
The proposal calls for convicted drug dealers and manufacturers to pay $750 on top of any other fines and penalties. Of that, $350 would go to the law enforcement agency that made the arrest and $400 would go to the state.
If the person has been previously convicted, the fine jumps to $1,000 with $200 going to the local law enforcement agency and $800 to the state. The measure is due before a House committee on Thursday.
Farnham also is sponsoring legislation to establish a statewide gang prevention and intervention grant program. Under his proposal, the state would seek federal dollars and dole the money out to communities that demonstrate they are actively trying to combat gang violence.
Officials said starting a statewide grant program would make Illinois more competitive for federal money, but they could not say how much money is available. The idea is patterned after a program in the state of Washington that Elgin Mayor Ed Schock recommended to Farnham.
“We’ve been, of course, a leader in innovative programs to help reduce the scourge of gangs in our communities,” Schock said. “We need to make sure we’re supporting local communities like the city of Elgin with federal grant dollars so these successes can continue.”
Major gang crimes have gone down 60 percent in Elgin over the last 10 years, according to Schock. The city also recently partnered with the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office to sue Latin King members.
Schock said the grants could serve as an incentive for communities to improve their current gang programs.
“Every time every community, no matter where it is, becomes more effective in combating gangs and crimes, that benefits all of us,” he said.
March 10, 2011
LOS ANGELES (WCJB) -- A judge on Thursday ordered former Bell city manager Robert Rizzo, assistant Angela Spaccia, now-recalled Mayor Oscar Hernandez and former City Councilman Luis Artiga to stand trial.
Altogether, they're facing 61 criminal counts. Rizzo alone faces 54 counts.
Prosecutors contend 57-year-old Rizzo acted like a mob godfather figure, handing out loans to the others while at the same time enriching himself and boosting his salary into the millions.
"Money is power, and Mr. Rizzo used the city's money to gain power for himself, to take control of that city and to run that city exactly the way he wanted it run," said prosecutor Sean Hassett during closing arguments of the preliminary hearing.
Hasset accused Rizzo of building power by ensuring top city leaders were beholden to him.
"He also wanted to make sure nobody was in a position to stop him when he came down to payroll and demanded more and more of the city's money," he said in court.
Rizzo's defense attorney James Spertus said his client never broke the law, despite a huge salary, perks, benefits and alleged corruption.
"Mr. Rizzo is not concocting some devious scheme to profit himself. He's trying to keep a qualified workforce," said James Spertus, Rizzo's attorney.
The defense contends that the loans were really administrative agreements that allowed employees to borrow against accrued vacation time. The money was paid back with interest in a program to retain valued workers.
An attorney for Spaccia, who faces four counts, argued that she received a legitimate city-funded loan. She did not authorize any loans as she didn't have that power.
Artiga faces two counts, and Hernandez faces a single count for receiving a loan.
Drug Dealing Cops! Border Patrol! 3/4 Ton in Patrol Car!
Last updated: 10:32 AM on 8th April 2011
A border patrol agent has been arrested after he allegedly tried to smuggle 745 pounds of marijuana across the border from Mexico. Michael Atondo, who works at the Yuma Sector Border Patrol in Arizona, tried to smuggle the drugs in a marked border patrol truck, according to police. Two agents responding to an activated sensor found Atondo at the border fence and, alerted by his unusual actions, they eventually asked to search his vehicle, where they discovered bundles of marijuana, according to the criminal complaint filed at the U.S. District Court.
According to the complaint, as two agents approached, they found two Jeep Cherokees parked in Mexico, and a person running west from the two vehicles, which were also backed up to the point where the border fence ends. Atondo at this point emerged from the parked Border Patrol vehicle with his service weapon drawn and pointed at the individual who was running away. Two other people in Mexico then jumped into the Cherokees and drove them southbound, farther into Mexico, the complaint states. Atondo told the two agents that two more people had run eastward, toward a hill, and jumped in his vehicle to pursue them. However, the two agents had a clear view of the area, and did not see two people.
According to media sources, the two agents continued to follow Atondo (pictured above, center) due to his unusual actions, and then one of them contacted a supervisor for assistance while the other asked for permission to search his vehicle. It was then that he found the orderly stacks of marijuana in the back of his vehicle. The supervisory agent also noted it was strange that the suspected smugglers or illegal aliens described by Atondo were not frightened or startled by his presence, and did not flee until the second Border Patrol vehicle arrived.
Rodolfo Karisch, acting chief patrol agent for the Yuma Sector, said he was 'proud of the swift and appropriate actions taken by the arresting agents'. He said in a statement: 'They knew the right thing to do and did it, as expected. They put honour first and are to be commended. This can not be said of the suspect. 'I will not refer to the subject of this arrest as "one of us". By his alleged actions, he has tarnished our image.' 'We will pursue the prosecution of this individual to the fullest extent allowed by law.' Atondo is facing a federal charge of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
CoCo County! Tanabe Resigns!
Posted: 03/10/2011 07:26:27 PM PST
Updated: 03/10/2011 07:41:35 PM PST
A Danville police officer arrested last week in the widening investigation of a drug task force chief and a private investigator, has resigned from the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office. Stephen Tanabe, 47, a deputy sheriff, was arrested last week on drug and weapons charges, the latest ball to drop in a scandal that began Feb. 16 when Norman Wielsch, the former head of the now-suspended Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team, or CNET, and private investigator Christopher Butler were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to sell drugs seized from a county evidence room. Wielsch and Butler have pleaded not guilty to 28 felony charges and are out on bail. Tanabe had been on administrative leave from the Sheriff's Office since his March 4 arrest. He is facing possible charges of possession and transfer of an assault rifle and conspiracy to possess and sell controlled substances, though deputy district attorney Harold Jewett said he does not expect to make a decision on the charges this week. Tanabe was released Saturday on $260,000 bail.
The Sheriff's Office said in a release that it will continue its internal investigation of Tanabe, who had been employed for about four years and was assigned to the patrol division. He had been assigned to Danville as part of a contractual partnership between the city and the Sheriff's Office. "In addition, a multi-agency criminal investigation is still underway," Sheriff David Livingston said in a statement. "Until these investigations are completed, we are unable to discuss this matter further."
Tanabe also went to a reserve deputy's home on the day Wielsch and Butler were arrested and gave him a bag containing an AR-15 rifle not registered to Tanabe, the affidavit said. The arrests of Wielsch, Butler and Tanabe have cast a pall on the law enforcement community, and Jewett said Wednesday that the scandal is expected to grow to include more officers and civilians.
Posted: 03/09/2011 04:25:59 PM PST
Updated: 03/10/2011 10:46:54 AM PST
MARTINEZ, CA -- The cloud that two police corruption scandals have cast over evidence and the reputation of Contra Costa County's law enforcement community is expected to grow and envelop more officers and civilians, a chief prosecutor said Wednesday. "Undoubtedly there are more than just three people who were involved in this, whether knowingly or unknowingly, and I think the extent of their participation remains to be seen," senior deputy district attorney Harold Jewett said.
"As far as right now, there are no limitations. We are going to follow this investigation wherever it takes us," he said. "Once we have an understanding of the breadth of the problem, we will focus our prosecutorial attentions on the people who are responsible for it."
The District Attorney's Office has devoted a "fair amount of manpower" to finding cases that might have been tainted by the involvement of officers linked to the growing scandal, Jewett said.
"If there are cases in our system that we can't trust because of the untrustworthiness of at least some of the officers involved, we have to identify those cases and determine the appropriate steps to take," he said. "Everyone whose name is implicated in this case is going to have cases that are pending."
The scandals began with the bombshell that a state narcotics agent and private investigator conspired to sell the bounty of drug seizures, and snowballed to encompass accusations of a staged arrest to scare a teen off drugs and a DUI entrapment scheme aimed at sullying targets' reputations before court proceedings, all entangled with the private investigation work of a suspect.
The latest in the ongoing probe surfaced Friday with the arrest of Danville police Officer Stephen Tanabe on drug and weapons offenses. His arrest was spurred by the arrests last month of Norman Wielsch (pictured above, center) commander of the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team, or CNET, and Concord-based private investigator Christopher Butler on suspicion of conspiring to sell drugs stolen from evidence lockers.
The Contra Costa public defender's office has identified eight CNET cases with an upcoming preliminary hearing or trial. Those cases could be affected by Wielsch's arrest and the office has not obtained related police reports that defense attorneys need to file motions to dismiss charges, said Public Defender Robin Lipetzky.
Lipetzky said she wrote to District Attorney Mark Peterson asking for reports and has filed several motions requesting information.
"We're getting very frustrated that we haven't received anything from the DA's office," Lipetzky said. "It's constitutionally mandated that we are provided with this information."
Jewett doesn't expect to make a decision this week on charges against Tanabe. The 47-year-old Alamo man is free on $260,000 bail and on administrative leave from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office. He is no longer assigned to Danville, which contracts its police services. Wielsch and Butler face 28 felony counts and are out on bail. Tanabe was not a CNET member and appears to be connected primarily to Butler. He worked for Butler's firm between a stint with Antioch police -- Tanabe was terminated before he completed his 18-month probation period -- and joining the Sheriff's Office. Tanabe's criminal attorney could not be reached Wednesday.
A prosecutor said that Butler (pictured left) hired decoys, often attractive women, to meet those he was investigating at bars and ply them with booze. Tanabe was linked to the case when deputies told the Sheriff's Office about Tanabe's possible work with Butler, sheriff's Detective Sgt. Jason Vorhauer wrote in a search warrant affidavit, which details the basis of the weapons arrest but not the drug offense.
A reserve deputy told investigators about a Jan. 14, 2011, patrol in Danville in which Tanabe traded several cell phone calls with Butler. The deputy said it appeared Butler was updating Tanabe on the sobriety of a man at The Vine, a Danville wine bar. Using a vehicle description from Butler, Tanabe saw the man's pickup truck and said they were going to conduct a "Dirty DUI" stop on him, because the man needed to be "dirtied" up for a court date, the affidavit said. Butler was paid $5,000 by the man's wife to investigate him, the affidavit said.
The document later states that on the day Wielsch and Butler were arrested, Tanabe went to the reserve deputy's home and said he expected to be investigated because of his connection to Butler. Anticipating his home would be searched, Tanabe gave him a garbage bag containing an AR-15 rifle not registered to Tanabe and not exempt from a state assault weapons ban, the document states.
CoCo County DUI Schemes!
Posted: 03/09/2011 04:25:59 PM PST
Updated: 03/10/2011 12:04:54 AM PST
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. -- A Contra Costa County sheriff's deputy who was arrested Friday on drug charges had allegedly been working with a Concord-based private investigator to conduct so-called "dirty DUI" stops on clients' husbands to damage their reputations, an investigator said in an affidavit.
In one of the cases, the target was cheating on his wife and the deputy was looking to "dirty him up" for a future legal battle, according to the affidavit.
The deputy, Stephen Tanabe, a 47-year-old Alamo resident (pictured above, center) was arrested Friday night on suspicion of possessing and selling a controlled substance, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.
He may also face charges of conspiracy and extortion in connection with the alleged drunken driving stops, prosecutor Harold Jewett said today.
In an affidavit for a search warrant dated March 4, Contra Costa County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Jason Vorhauer wrote that a reserve deputy named William Howard had approached him and said he had been on patrol with Tanabe in Danville on Jan. 14 when one of the "dirty DUI" stops was conducted.
Howard told Vorhauer that Tanabe had received eight to 10 phone calls from someone he called his "PI friend," later identified as Christopher Butler, regarding a man who was allegedly drinking alcohol at a local wine bar called The Vine.
Butler, 49, was arrested Feb. 16 along with 49-year-old Norman Wielsch, the commander of the state-run Central Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team, or CNET.
Prosecutors have alleged that Wielsch stole drugs from law enforcement evidence lockers and gave them to Butler, who sold them through his private investigator business.
The pair have pleaded not guilty to 28 charges, including conspiracy; selling methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids; and possessing methamphetamine, marijuana and steroids for sale.
During their arraignment last week, prosecutor Jun Fernandez alleged that Butler hired attractive women to lure his targets to local bars and invite them to drink. Butler would then allegedly contact local law enforcement officers and have the men arrested for drunken driving, Fernandez said. Vorhauer wrote in his affidavit that Howard told him Butler had been parked in a Hummer near the bar on the night of the Jan. 14 "dirty DUI" arrest and had given Tanabe a description of the subject's vehicle. When the man came out of the bar, Butler alerted Tanabe, according to the account.
Tanabe, who was in a patrol car, followed the man until he made a right turn without signaling and pulled him over, according to the document. After the stop, Tanabe arrested the man on suspicion of drunken driving. Tanabe later allegedly told Howard that it was all a setup, according to the affidavit. Investigators later learned that the wife of the man who was targeted had allegedly paid Butler $5,000 to conduct an investigation into her husband's activities.
A district attorney's investigator told Vorhauer that a search of Butler's cell phone confirmed that Butler and Tanabe had made arrangements by text message to have the man arrested, according to the affidavit.
Cell phone records also confirmed that they had arranged by text to have another man arrested on Jan. 9, according to Vorhauer.
A second deputy, identified in the affidavit as Tom Henderson, told Vorhauer of a third DUI arrest he had been involved in with Tanabe. Henderson said that on March 2, he had received a call from Tanabe, who said he was off duty in a bar in downtown Danville and a man he identified by name was drinking heavily and would be leaving soon, according to the affidavit. Tanabe allegedly explained to Henderson that the man was cheating on his wife and he and Butler wanted to "'dirty him up' for a future court case," the affidavit states. Henderson waited for the man to leave the bar and then pulled him over for speeding, determined he was drunk and arrested him on suspicion of DUI, according to the affidavit.
"It is my opinion that Deputy Tanabe has abused his police powers and has been acting as an agent of Butler while on duty as an Officer of the City of Danville," Vorhauer wrote.
Danville is one of several cities in Contra Costa County that contract with the sheriff's office for police services.
According to the affidavit, Howard also told Vorhauer that on the day Wielsch and Butler were arrested, Tanabe allegedly went to Howard's house and told him he was worried his house would be searched during the investigation. Tanabe allegedly asked Howard if he could store an item at his house while the investigation was going on, the affidavit stated. Howard later turned that item in to investigator, who determined that it was an illegal assault rifle, according to the affidavit.
Jewett, who is overseeing the case while Fernandez is out of town, said that since Tanabe posted $260,000 bail on Saturday, there is no urgent deadline to file charges. Jewett said he does not expect to file charges against him this week, since the investigation is still under way.
Wielsch and Butler are scheduled to return to court April 21 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.
Wielsch has been charged with four counts of transporting drugs without a prescription with intent to sell or distribute, a separate but additional count of the same charge, five counts of transportation of marijuana with intent to sell, five counts of possession of marijuana, four counts of unlicensed possession of a controlled substance to sell, one count of possession of prescription drugs for sale, embezzlement, second degree burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime.
Butler faces similar charges: two counts of transporting drugs with intent to sell or distribute without a prescription, a third separate count of the same charge, five counts of transportation of marijuana with intent to sell, five counts of possession of marijuana, four counts of unlicensed possession of a controlled substance for sale, one count of possession of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine with intent to sell or furnish the drug for use in the manufacture of methamphetamine or its analogs, one count of possession of prescription drugs for sale, one count of embezzlement, one count of second-degree burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit a crime.
Prosecutors said the men worked together to take evidentiary drugs to sell on the streets.
See Related blog Posts:
•» A History of Drug Dealing Cops! - Part I
•» Antioch, CA Police Department - Racism
Updated: March 2, 2011, 12:49 AM
Minnetta Walker (pictured above, center) is a behavioral detection officer at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Her job is to walk through the airport and look for individuals who might be planning some criminal activity. But Walker -- according to federal agents who arrested her Tuesday -- got involved in criminal activity herself. The 43-year-old Transportation Security Administration employee was arrested on charges that she provided information to suspected drug traffickers and helped them get past security checkpoints with minimum scrutiny.
Federal agents arrested her in a suspected Amherst drug dealer's sport utility vehicle at about 11 a.m. Tuesday. Police said Walker -- who was off-duty from her TSA job -- drove the SUV to the airport to pick up the suspected dealer, Derek Frank, who was returning from Arizona.
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. filed court papers charging Walker with tipping off one suspected trafficker that undercover drug agents were tailing him, and on other occasions, with accompanying alleged traffickers as they went through security screenings at the airport.
Walker is accused of a felony charge of conspiring to defraud the government by interfering with security measures at the airport. She pleaded not guilty and declined to comment when a reporter from The Buffalo News approached her in federal court.
"[Walker] interfered with and obstructed the security measures, procedures and requirements of the TSA," FBI Special Agent Gary P. Jensen said in court papers.
Investigators said that, at this point, there is no indication that any other Buffalo TSA employees were involved in the alleged wrongdoing.
Walker is only accused of helping alleged traffickers smuggle money through the airport, said Dale M. Kasprzyk, resident agent in charge of the Buffalo office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
"At this point, she is not accused of smuggling drugs or accepting bribes from drug traffickers," Kasprzyk said. "The charge against her is that she provided assistance to people, who we believe are traffickers, to help them move large amounts of cash through the airport.
As a specially trained "behavioral detection officer," Walker was not confined to one post by the TSA, but was able to roam around the airport, looking for suspicious individuals, said Jensen, the FBI agent.
"TSA screeners generally do not question the activities of a [behavioral detection officer]," Jensen said in court papers. "This places Walker in a unique position to help individuals bypass security procedures and to detect the presence of law enforcement activity."
According to court papers, Frank spoke to a cooperating witness last month and repeatedly made references to having a connection at the airport who could help him get past security while carrying lots of cash.
On Feb. 11, DEA and FBI agents gave the cooperating witness $12,000 to purchase marijuana from Frank, and Frank was to travel to Arizona to get the pot, the court papers stated.
With agents watching and following, Walker drove Frank to the airport and accompanied him as he went through security lines at the airport. After Frank cleared security and walked toward his departure gate, Walker waved goodbye to him and then left the airport in his SUV.
Walker was not on duty at the time of the Feb. 11 incident, but agents allege that her presence made it easier for Frank to get through security without being questioned.
"Normally, when people are found to be carrying large amounts of cash that they don't declare, the TSA notifies the [Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority] police. They then notify us, and an investigation is begun," Kasprzyk said.
Frank, of Millersport Highway in Amherst, was charged Tuesday with engaging in a continuing criminal drug enterprise. Like Walker, he pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr.
Court papers filed against Walker and Frank alleged several other instances in which Walker is accused of helping suspected drug traffickers avoid trouble or screening.
The papers allege that, last March 22, a suspected drug dealer named Antonio Briggs was walking through the airport when Walker notified him undercover DEA agents were watching him.
Briggs then called a relative, telling him that "unda covas are watching me" and asking him to hide some alleged drug money that was being held in a closet at Briggs' home.
"These [expletive] unda covas are watching me, and ... I don't know why," Briggs told his relative in a phone call taped by the DEA.
Briggs was arrested in a federal drug conspiracy case last summer, and he pleaded not guilty, prosecutor Mary C. Baumgarten said.
TSA officials were aware of the investigation for months and assisted in it, agency spokeswoman Ann Davis told The News on Tuesday evening.
"Any time we learn that one of our people might be involved in criminal activity, we work in close partnership with other law enforcement agencies," Davis said.
Davis said she could not say much about Walker's situation but did not dispute a prosecutor's statement that Walker will be suspended without pay.
During her court appearance, Walker said she makes $40,000 a year in her TSA job.
The Walker investigation began about 10 months ago, authorities said, when DEA agents and NFTA police received information that she might have been assisting drug dealers.
Walker is believed to be the first TSA employee from the Buffalo airport to be arrested on corruption charges since the agency was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Nationwide, the TSA has about 48,000 officers working in 457 U.S. airports, screening an average of 2 million passengers each day.
There have been some problems reported in other cities.
Last month, two TSA officers at Kennedy International Airport were charged with stealing $39,000 in cash from a piece of luggage. Authorities were quoted after the arrests as saying the two men admitted other thefts.
Last October, a TSA supervisor in Newark, N.J., was charged with stealing thousands of dollars from passengers, mostly from foreigners who could not speak English.
Davis, the TSA spokeswoman, said such incidents are statistically very rare, and she said they do not accurately reflect the overall quality of the agency's work force.
In an unrelated incident, an NFTA police officer was suspended for 10 days in January after admitting that he had kept more than 1,000 items that TSA screeners had seized from passengers at the airport. The items included nail clippers, corkscrews and knives. The name of the officer was not released.
Drugs, Murder & L.A.P.D.!
February 18, 2011
The murder of Notorious B.I.G. is one of the most prominent cold cases involving a hip-hop artist and police to appear in Los Angeles headlines. The 1997 case of Christopher Wallace’s death raised a scandal over the link of two LAPD undercover officers to the scene. Officers Perez and Mack were subsequently fired and convicted for unrelated crimes of bank robbery and stealing cocaine. New evidence reveals that the two officers were on security detail when Wallace left the party at the Peterson Automotive Museum on that fateful night.
An alleged conversation between officer Rafael Perez and his cell mate was reported by LA media sources. “Perez was working security. Perez had a cell phone. Perez said he called over to Mack, David Mack on his cell phone. Perez told Mack that Biggie Smalls was in his truck. Perez never said that he set up Biggie Smalls but I have heard that he…had something to do with that murder,” according to the inmate.
While the evidence does not directly implicate the officers in Wallace’s death by a lone gunman who drove up in a Black Chevy Impala, hundreds of pages in documentation were undisclosed at the trial. The Wallace family attorney believes the LAPD hid evidence that the officers were working for the city on the night of B.I.G.’s murder, as a tie to the shooting could cost millions of dollars to the department in liability.
Archived Drug Dealers! Officer Lowell Duke!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
A Memphis police officer was arrested Thursday morning at work inside the Union Station in Midtown by a joint task force of DEA and FBI agents in the ongoing Tarnished Blue investigation, officials said Thursday. The officer, identified as Lowell Duke, a 13-year veteran, is the subject of a federal grand jury indictment, officials said. He faces charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin said.
“I have made a pledge,” Godwin said Thursday night, “to rid this department of bad officers. We will continue to investigate any others involved in criminal activity.”
He could not say whether the alleged crimes happened while the officer was on duty. Godwin said it does not appear that other officers are going to be charged with Duke. Part of the indictment remains under seal, and it was not clear Thursday when the indictment was returned. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is expected to release information this morning outlining the charges, officials said.
“I can confirm that a Memphis Police Department officer was arrested,” said FBI Special Agent Joel Siskovic, “but I cannot comment further.”
The Memphis DEA office is the lead agency in this particular arrest, Siskovic said. DEA Resident Agent in Charge Keith Brown could not comment on the case, except to say the case continued to develop Thursday. “There’s other things going on,” Brown said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office couldn’t be reached for comment.
Since 2003, at least 34 officers and civilian employees of the department have been indicted on corruption charges, including ticket fixing, robbery, prostitution, extortion and drug conspiracy, in the Tarnished Blue and other investigations.
Officer Rafael Perez!
March 30, 2000
Perez, 32, has already spent two years behind bars. The 10 year police veteran was given a lenient sentence because he agreed to cooperate with the investigation into criminal conduct by other members of the LAPD. That probe has expanded with assistance from the FBI and Justice Department. To date, 20 officers have been relieved of duty, although none has been indicted, and another 50 are under suspicion. Perez was a member of the LAPD's anti-gang CRASH unit in the Rampart Division. He alleges he and other officers planted drugs and weapons on innocent people. Perez has been given limited immunity.
Updated 7:25 p.m. August 25, 1998
LOS ANGELES, CA — A nine-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department is under arrest today for allegedly stealing cocaine from a department property room. At a news conference this morning, LAPD Chief Bernard Parks (pictured, below) said Officer Rafael Antonio Perez allegedly stole six pounds of cocaine, according to The Associated Press. The cocaine is estimated to be worth $800,000 on the street.
Posted 6:28 p.m. December 23, 1998
LOS ANGELES, CA — Superior Court jurors deadlocked Wednesday in the trial of a Los Angeles police officer accused of stealing more than six pounds of cocaine from an evidence locker. Judge Robert Perry dismissed the panelists, who announced a majority of them favored conviction, but were hopelessly deadlocked.
Intermission! "Operation 'Usual Suspects'!"
March 10, 2011: A federal indictment against 15 suspects says they had ties to New York and California, and alleges that conspirators "would engage in acts of violence against members of the conspiracy who failed to perform required tasks."