We’ve got two weeks worth of law enforcement bad apples this week. The barrel is getting pretty full of them. Let’s get to it:
In Brownsville, Texas, a former Cameron County District Attorney’s Office investigator was indicted August 25 on a variety of drug trafficking-related charges. Former investigator Jaime Munivez, 47, is accused of partnering with an already indicted alleged cocaine trafficker on his deals, helping him search for a missing truck loaded with drug money, and providing fraudulent forfeiture documents for another trafficker. Munivez faces one count of conspiracy to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine, one count of conspiracy to extort, and two counts of aiding and abetting extortion. He was trying to make $75,000 bail at last report. He’s looking at at least 10 years on the cocaine conspiracy count.
In Alexandria, Louisiana, a Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office narcotics field supervisor was arrested August 25 on charges related to “improper activities with three female offenders.” Lt. Michael Lacour, 33, is charged with three counts of malfeasance in office. Although officials were mum on the particulars, the sheriff’s office did say that it got a complaint from one of the women and that his arrest stemmed from his off-duty activities. Lacour has been suspended with pay and is out on a $3,000 bond.
In Greenup, Kentucky, a Greenup County jail guard was arrested August 29 for allegedly peddling Oxycontin to prisoners while on duty. Guard Causetta Cox-Tackett, 33, is charged with trafficking a controlled substance and promoting contraband. She went down after an internal investigation by the Greenup County Detention Center and the Greenup County Sheriff’s Office. She is currently residing at her place of employment.
In New Port Richey, Florida, a former Pasco County sheriff’s deputy was arrested August 30 after being caught with marijuana, prescription pills, and drug paraphernalia in his patrol car. Marshall DeBerry is accused of not turning in drugs and paraphernalia in at least 10 cases. Not all the missing drugs have been found, and DeBerry told investigators some may have “fallen out” of his patrol car. He is charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. He went down after investigators got a tip about drugs in his patrol car. DeBerry had previously risen to the rank of corporal, but had been demoted to sheriff’s deputy in 2008 after warning an informant of an impending raid. He is out on a $5,000 bond pending trial.
In Saluda, Virginia, the Middlesex County sheriff was indicted August 31 on 25 felony counts for taking boats, cars, and cash that belonged to the county and converting them for his own use. Sheriff Gus Abbott, who is still on the job, faces charges of misappropriation of funds, bribery and embezzlement. He allegedly took a Volvo and three boats and is charged with 18 counts of misusing money from the county asset forfeiture fund and credit cards. He is also charged with three counts of bribery for receiving more than $1,200 from an unnamed individual. He was released on his own recognizance pending trial.
In Marion, Illinois, a Williamson County sheriff’s deputy was arrested September 1 on charges he took seized marijuana and gave it to a third party to sell. Deputy Caleb Craft is charged with theft, unlawful possession of cannabis, and official misconduct. Craft, a member of the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group (SIEG) went down after SEIG got information about one of their own gone bad. Craft was last reported being held at the Jackson County jail pending a bond hearing.
In Las Cruces, New Mexico, the former Columbus police chief pleaded guilty August 25 to conspiring to run guns to a Mexican drug cartel. Former Chief Angelo Vega had been arrested in March along with a former town trustee, a former town mayor, and 10 others after being indicted on an 84-count gun-running indictment. Vega earned more than $10,000 from last October through March by conducting counter-surveillance for La Linea, the enforcement arm of the Juarez Cartel, using a town vehicle to run guns to Mexico, and purchasing thousands of dollars worth of body armor, boots, helmets, and clothing, including bulletproof vests for a La Linea leader. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy, aiding in the smuggling of firearms, and extortion under color of the law. Vega and his co-conspirators used their positions to traffic around 200 guns to Mexico, including assault rifles. He faces up to 35 years in federal prison.
In San Juan, Puerto Rico, a former Arecibo police officer was convicted August 30 of providing security for drug dealers. David Gonzalez Perry was found guilty of 28 counts of conspiracy and drug-related charges for providing security for 15 separate cocaine transactions and receiving $36,000 to do so. He also recruited 15 other people into drug trafficking conspiracies. He’s looking at a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence and up to life in prison.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, one Tulsa police officer was convicted and one acquitted August 30 in a long-running corruption scandal that featured the use of manufactured evidence against innocent parties, some of whom were imprisoned, lying on search warrant affidavits, and perjured testimony. Officer Jeff Henderson was convicted of eight counts of perjury and civil rights violations, while Officer Bill Yelton was acquitted on all charges against him. Henderson was acquitted on more than 40 other counts related to individuals who have filed lawsuits against the city of Tulsa claiming they were imprisoned based on the results of search warrants for which Henderson wrote false affidavits. The verdicts mark the end of a federal investigation of Tulsa police officers and a federal agent that began in late 2008 and resulted in charges against six Tulsa police officers and the federal agent. One Tulsa officer and the federal agent pleaded guilty and two other Tulsa officers were convicted in the case. Two others were acquitted, but remain suspended while the department investigates whether they violated internal policies. Henderson is looking at up to 32 years in prison, and the city of Tulsa is still looking at having to defend a mess of lawsuits from victims of the rogue cops.
In Los Angeles, an LA County sheriff’s captain has been placed on paid leave after a voice thought to be hers was heard on a wiretap directed at several drug trafficking suspects. Capt. Bernice Abram has been on leave since April, although the story broke just late last month. She was put on leave after federal authorities notified sheriff’s officials that their captain may have been heard on the narcotics wiretap. Officials are trying to determine whether hers is the voice in the recordings and what relationship she had with the suspects. Earlier last month, FBI and other agents arrested the drug trafficking suspects, members of a Compton-based drug ring.