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MrScorpio Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 07:19 PM
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This Week's Adventures in Law Enforcement: Drug War Edition
Former Scranton detective pleads guilty for stealing drug money from evidence room
Published: April 9, 2010

A former Scranton detective accused of stealing drug money from an evidence room seven years ago pleaded guilty to theft Friday in Lackawanna County Court.

Leonard F. Ash Jr., 42, of 3015 Jones St., admitted he stole more than $8,400 from the Scranton Police Department evidence room during a brief courtroom appearance before Judge Vito Geroulo.

The cash, seized in a 2001 drug arrest at 636 N. Main Ave., was discovered missing last summer when someone in the District Attorney's Office opened an envelope and found only blank pieces of paper bundled in rolls to mimic "drug rolls" of cash.

The District Attorney's Office handed over the investigation to state police. During an interview in December at the Dunmore state police barracks, Mr. Ash admitted he took the cash and replaced it with blank papers, investigators said in court papers.

Following Mr. Ash's arrest, then-Public Safety Director Ray Hayes said the theft was the result of "human failure" not a "systemic failure."

On Friday, Mr. Ash formally pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking, a first-degree misdemeanor. Mr. Ash, who is free on $20,000 unsecured bail, is expected to be sentenced later this spring. Police Chief David Elliott said Mr. Ash was fired March 26 from the department after he failed to show for a hearing.

Mr. Ash had a long career as a Scranton police officer and comes from a law enforcement family.

He joined the department in 1990 and went on to lead the city's drug unit and supervise a special investigations division.

The son of former Duryea Police Chief Leonard Ash Sr., Mr. Ash was among the youngest officers to graduate from the state police's Northeastern Training Center in Forty Fort.

Mr. Ash's father also wound up on the wrong side of the law after he retired. In 2000, the former police chief pleaded no contest to using a handgun from the evidence locker as collateral for a $4,000 personal loan.

Contact the writer:

BPD detective on administrative leave pending drug investigation
by Gary Kent

A 31-year-old sergeant with the Beeville Police Department has been placed on administrative leave with pay after being taken into custody Tuesday evening by a Texas Department of Public Safety investigator.

Victor Luis Gonzales, 31, was booked on suspicion of fraud schedule 3, later described as fraud, possession or manufacture of a controlled substance (prescription drug) with intent to distribute.

The offense is a third degree felony and if the suspect is convicted, he could face up to 10 years in a state prison and a fine of $10,000.

Gonzales was logged into custody at the Bee County Jail at 6:46 p.m. Tuesday by DPS investigator Jeffery Smithwick of Corpus Christi.

He was released later on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond signed by District Judge Joel Johnson.

Officer Gonzales was severely injured while serving his country in the military, Police Chief Joe Trevio said.

He is a good officer, not a troublemaker, the chief said. He is on administrative leave with pay and we are restricted on our comments because it (the case) is still under investigation.

At this time, Trevio said he is treating the incident as a personnel matter.

District Attorney Martha Warner also refused comment, saying the case still is under investigation.

It would be unethical for me to comment on it, she said this week.

Trevio said Gonzales started working as a dispatcher with the BPD in 2001 and later became a patrol officer.

He rose to the rank of sergeant and later was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division.

He left the BPD briefly in 2008 to work as an investigator for a state agency but he returned to the department in 2009, was quickly promoted to sergeant and had recently started working again as a detective.

Longmont officer pleads guilty to drug possession

By Pierrette J. Shields
2010 Longmont Times-Call

BOULDER - Longmont police officer who is accused of providing prescription painkillers to a confidential informant pleaded guilty on Friday to misdemeanor drug possession and failing to disclose a conflict of interest.

Jack Kimmett, a 28-year Longmont police veteran, had been charged with two counts of felony drug possession, two misdemeanor theft counts and first-degree official misconduct. Those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement with the Boulder County District Attorney's office.

Fellow officers investigated Kimmett and arrested him after they watched him provide prescription medications to a confidential police informant, according to police records.

While she initially refused to cooperate with investigators, the informant relented and told them Kimmett paid her rent and her bills. She also told police that he stole prescription drugs from his wife and gave them to her, according to records.

Kimmett is scheduled to return to court on May 21 for sentencing. His plea agreement stipulates that he will not serve jail time, but will instead receive probation, community service, and will have to write a letter of apology.

Prosecutor Ryan Brackley said he worked closely with the Longmont Police Department to develop a satisfactory plea agreement.

Ex-agent tied to drug buy jailed
He was booked into the Tulsa Jail on Thursday on a hold for U.S. marshals.

By OMER GILLHAM World Staff Writer
Published: 4/9/2010 2:26 AM
Last Modified: 4/9/2010 2:37 PM

A former federal agent who is implicated in a fabricated drug buy was in the Tulsa Jail on Thursday night.

Brandon J. McFadden, a former agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was booked into the jail on a hold for U.S. marshals, jail records show.

McFadden, 33, along with Jeff Henderson, an undercover Tulsa police officer, has been implicated in a federal investigation in which prosecutors allege that the pair fabricated a drug buy that sent a Tulsa man and his daughter to federal prison in 2008, records show.

Prosecutors allege that McFadden and Henderson coached a drug informant and fabricated a drug buy on May 8, 2007, according to a federal motion that was unsealed and filed last week in Tulsa County District Court.

An FBI agent arrested McFadden about 7 p.m. Thursday, according to jail records.

McFadden resigned from the ATF about one year ago, an ATF spokesman has said.

Henderson, who has not been charged with a crime, has denied the allegations. His attorney, Zach Smith, has said Henderson and McFadden conducted a proper and legal search in the drug case.

The alleged fabricated drug buy by Henderson and McFadden led to the convictions of Larita Annette Barnes, 33, and Larry Wayne Barnes Sr., 59, on federal drug charges, records show.

The Barneses were released from federal prison July 2 because the informant in the case, Ryan Logsdon, said he lied about the drug buy, the court filing unsealed last week states.

Larry Barnes had served about one year on two 5 1/2-year sentences, which were to run concurrently.

Larita Barnes had served about one year on two concurrent 10-year sentences.

Henderson was put on paid leave by the Tulsa Police Department last week, one day after the Tulsa World reported that the federal pleading had led to the Barneses' July 2 release from federal prison.

Meanwhile, Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris has ordered a review of cases in which Henderson has been involved.

There could be more than 100, records indicate.

Harris' office also acknowledges that it was contacted by Jane W. Duke, a special prosecutor looking into alleged law enforcement corruption in Tulsa. Duke is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Harris stated in a court document that Duke's office could not release any information because of an ongoing investigation by a grand jury.

McFadden is expected to make his initial appearance before a federal magistate today in U.S. District Court in Tulsa, said Neal Kirkpatrick, his attorney.

McFadden went to work as an ATF agent July, 15, 2002, ATF officials said. He worked in Tulsa with the Special Investigations Division of Tulsa Police Department, records show. McFadden resigned from the ATF on Sept. 25, 2009.

Fulton deputy pleads not guilty to corruption, drug charges

By Kristi E. Swartz
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Fulton County Sheriffs Deputy pleaded not guilty in federal court Friday afternoon to corruption, drug and firearm charges.

A grand jury indicted Anthony Atwater on Tuesday on five charges, including extortion and aiding and abetting cocaine distribution after federal agents said he was protecting suspected drug dealers in January and in March.

He was arrested Friday morning during roll call.

Atwater appeared briefly before U.S. Magistrate Russell Vineyard at 1:30 p.m. A bond hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday at 3 p.m. He will remain in jail until then.

Atwater, who lives in Atlanta, is accused of protecting drug dealers two different times as they were trying to distribute at least 500 kilograms of a mixture that contained cocaine, according to his criminal indictment. Atwater was given $4,000 to protect the dealers during drug transactions made on Jan. 23 and March 12, the U.S. the document said.

Atwater also used a firearm to help protect the suspected drug dealers, according to the indictment.

Atwater's court-appointed attorney, Tom Hawker, as well as his fiancee declined to talk to reporters after the hearing.

He chose to protect suspected drug dealers for his personal benefit rather than protect the public as he is sworn to do, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement.

The Fulton County Sheriffs department has been aware of the FBIs investigation of Atwater since January, Sheriff Ted Jackson said.

The Internal Revenue Services criminal investigations unit is also working on this case.

Atwater, 32 was hired as a deputy sheriff on February 27, 2002. He is on indefinite suspension without pay pending further notice which is standard procedure.

When an officer who has taken the oath to serve and protect violates the law, it tarnishes and damages the reputations of those who are committed to doing the right thing, Jackson said.

Former Spring Lake officer pleads guilty

By Drew Brooks
Staff writer

One of two police officers charged as part of a criminal investigation of the Spring Lake Police Department has been sentenced to nearly two years in jail.

Alfonzo Whittington Jr. was sentenced today after pleading guilty to one felony and two misdemeanors.

Senior Resident Superior Court Judge E. Lynn Johnson sentenced Whittington to between one year, four months and one year, eight months in prison for embezzlement by a public officer. Whittington also was sentenced to two 45-day sentences for misdemeanor obstruction of justice and misdemeanor failure to discharge duties.

In exchange for his guilty plea, the state dismissed numerous other charges, including obtaining property by false pretenses, larceny and additional counts of obstruction.

The charges stemmed from an incident in September 2008, when the State Bureau of Investigation was looking into corruption within the town's Police Department. The SBI set up a sting at a local motel with the cooperation of Greensboro police and a confidential source.

During the sting, undercover agents used hidden video and audio equipment to monitor town officers who were investigating supposed drug activity in a motel room.

Agents left $2,900 in plain sight in the room with the expectations the Spring Lake officers would confiscate it.

They did, but weeks later Whittington signed a receipt saying the money was returned to its owner.

According to prosecutor Buntie Russ, SBI agents never reclaimed the money and the man who Whittington said claimed it - Bradley Johnson - didn't exist.

Through the cooperation with another Spring Lake officer, Jose Garcia, SBI agents learned that Whittington falsified documents to show the money had been claimed.

Russ said Whittington went on a cruise around the time the money went missing, but said he told investigators he used the money to pay for college.

Whittington later returned the money in an attempt to cover up the crime, she said.

Whittington, who was a sergeant and an evidence custodian with the Spring Lake Police Department, was indicted in May along with Sgt. Darryl Coulter.

Whittington's lawyer, Matthew Cockman, asked Johnson for a suspended sentence, but Johnson declined the request.

Prior to sentencing, Johnson read the oath of office Whittington took before becoming an officer.

District Attorney Ed Grannis said the damage Whittington and Coulter caused the county and the residents of Spring Lake was incalculable.

"It is really difficult to understand how much damage an individual like that can do," Grannis said.

When given an opportunity to address the court, Whittington apologized.

"I'm very sorry for the heartbreak I brought to the Police Department and to the citizens," he said.
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