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How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Cleveland ATF Agent Expected to Plead Guilty to Stealing Money During Drug Raid

By Allan Lengel

A 32-year-old ATF agent is expected to plead guilty later this month in federal court to stuffing his pockets with cash during an Oct. 18 drug raid in suburban Cleveland, court records show.

Agent Steven Campbell is scheduled to enter a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Cleveland to a federal  theft charge on Dec. 22.

According to a court affidavit by Nicholas Candela, a special agent with the Justice Department Inspector General, on Oct. 18, ATF agent Campbell was part of a task force that raided a home in Lyndhurt, Ohio shortly after 7 a.m.

Agents confronted the drug suspect, who after being read his Miranda Warning, confessed that he had a couple pounds of marijuana in a blue bag in the garage and between $45,000 and $50,000 under a dresser.

Campbell went upstairs along with at least one DEA agent. A plastic bag full of cash was found under the dresser.

While agents searched the house, the affidavit said, Campbell “remained near the corner of the room where the nightstand and the bag containing the money was located.”

One agent observed Campbell leaning over the nightstand toward the bag “with his right hand” and saw the “right hand go into his right side pants cargo pocket.”

The agent then saw Campbell “again reach down behind the nightstand and into the bag of money and then again place his rigtht hand in his right side pants cargo pocket”, the affidavit said. The agent saw Campbell do this “approximately three or four times.”

Campbell also kneeled down near the nightsand and untied his right boot “and opened the top of the boot”, the affidavit said.

At that time, the agent left the room and told someone else that Campbell might be stealing the money.

The agent returned to the room and saw Campbell continue to reach in the bag and take the money.

Agents eventually confronted Campbell, but Campbell said he only had personal money on him, the affidavit said.

When one agent said he wanted to check Campbell, “Campbell “stated that they would need a warrant.”

He was then led downstairs and placed in a chair and watched by some of the members of the search team. He was then handcuffed and his gun was taken, affidavit said.

The law enforcement people decided to wait for ATF agent Ed Dabkowski to arrive to search Campbell.

While Campbell waited in the chair “a bundle of money fell from his right pants leg and onto the floor.”

As the search got underway “a bundle of money fell from (special agent) Campbell’s left pant leg and landed on the floor. During the search, bundles of money were discovered in a total of 7 locations: right pants leg (that fell out), left pants leg (that fell out), left pants cargo pocket, right pants cargo pocket, back left pants pocket, back right pants pocket and right sweatshirt pocket.”

The affidavit said it was not immediately determined how much money was taken but that it was well in excess of $1,000.

Campbell was arrested, read his Miranda Rights. He chose not to talk to investigators, the affidavit said.

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