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Tag: Drugs

Chicago Police Accused of Ripping Off Drug Dealers Are Stripped of Their Power

Chicago Police Department squad car.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A nearly yearlong investigation led by the FBI has revealed that several members of a Chicago police gang team ripped off drug dealers of their money and narcotics, law enforcement officials told the Chicago Tribune

A sergeant and at least three officers who are part of the cty’s Area Central gang team have been stripped over their powers as the federal probe continues.

No arrests have been made yet in the case, but authorities expect to bring charges against the police officials.

The investigation, which was triggered by an informant who told federal authorities that he had been robbed by the team, involved an undercover video sting to capture the police in action.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Sex Scandal Not Sufficient Reason to Dismiss Deadly Drug Conspiracy Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA sex scandal was not a sufficient reason to dismiss a St. Louis drug case, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Shirley Padmore Mensah rejected defense lawyers’ claims on Jn. 12 that a deadly drug conspiracy case was compromised by an undisclosed affair between a DEA supervisor and a confidential informer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Lawyers for four people accused of a deadly drug conspiracy “failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that any government agent or any informant acting as a government agent deliberately or recklessly included a false statement” in an affidavit that resulted in permission to wiretap the suspects.

The wiretaps led to drug-related charges against Dionne L. Gatling, Andre Alphonso Rush, Timothy Lamont Rush and Lorenzo Gibbs. Further evidence was collected that prosecutors said showed Gatling and Rush were involved in the murder of two men whom the suspects believe were feeding information to police.

DEA supervisor Keith Cromer denied having a sexual affair with the informer, but admitted the relationship “became personal in violation of DEA policy but denied that it was ever sexual,” Mensah’s ruling says. 

The judge didn’t buy Mensah’s claims that the affair wasn’t sexual, citing “intimate photographs,” trips the pair took and court testimony.

The DEA forbids its investigators from being alone with an informant or having a relationship closer than “arm’s length.”

Cromer has since been suspended without pay.

The judge said the the alleged misconduct between the DEA supervisor and the informant had no impact on this case. 

DEA: Biggest Opioid Distribution in U.S. History ‘Hijacked’ by Federal Lawyers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A painstaking, two-year investigation into the biggest opioid distribution case in U.S. history yielded what investigators said was solid evidence that the company had failed to report suspicious orders of highly addictive painkillers.

But instead of bringing big penalties to the first-ever criminal case against a drug distribution company, the nation’s largest company, McKesson Corp., top attorneys at the DEA and Justice Department intervened, striking an agreement that was “far more lenient than the field division wanted,” according to the Washington Post

“This is the best case we’ve ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said Schiller, who recently retired as assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Denver field division after a 30-year career with the agency. “I said, ‘How do we not go after the number one organization?’ ”

Schiller called the intervention “insulting.”

“Morale has been broken because of it,” he added.

Helen Kaupang, a DEA investigator and supervisor for 29 years who worked on the McKesson case in Denver, minced no words: “Within the ranks, we feel like our system was hijacked.”

The Post wrote:

The result illustrates the long-standing conflict between drug investigators, who have taken an aggressive approach to a prescription opioid epidemic that killed nearly 200,000 people between 2000 and 2016, and the government attorneys who handle those cases at the DEA and the Justice Department.

None of McKesson’s warehouses would lose their DEA registrations. The company, a second-time offender, had promised in 2008 to be more diligent about the diversion of its pills to the street. It ultimately agreed to temporarily suspend controlled substance shipments at four distribution centers and pay a $150 million fine.

ATF Under Fire for Controversial Stings Primarily Targeting African Americans

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

ATF stings have come under fire because they’re predominately targeting African Americans and prompting allegations of racial profiling and entrapment.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the ATF has “convinced hundreds of would-be robbers across the country that they were stealing large quantities of narcotics, only to find out the drugs were a figment of the government’s imagination.” 

Because of mandatory federal sentencing laws, suspects caught up in the controversial stings are spending decades or even life behind bars, even though the drugs never existed.

The Tribune wrote:

Now the legal battle is coming to a head in an unprecedented hearing at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago before a panel of nine district judges overseeing a dozen separate cases involving more than 40 defendants.

The hearing, which has been four years in the making, will take place over two days in the courthouse’s large ceremonial courtroom. As many as 30 defendants, their relatives and individual attorneys are expected to attend, and an overflow courtroom has been set up to handle the anticipated crowd.

“In my 46 years of practicing law, I’ve never seen anything like this before,” attorney Richard Kling, who represents one of the defendants, told the Chicago Tribune this week.

The testimony will focus on dueling experts who reached starkly different conclusions about the racial breakdown of targets in the stash house cases.

A nationally renowned expert hired by the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School — which is spearheading the effort to have the cases dismissed — concluded that disparity between minority and white defendants in the stings was so large that there was “a zero percent likelihood” it happened by chance.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Task Force Finds Enough Fentanyl to Kill 6 Million People

File photo of pills laced with fentanyl.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A joint investigation involving the DEA netted 16 arrests in New York City and the discovery of cocaine, heroin and enough fentanyl to kill 6 million people, NBC New York reports

DEA agents and local police seized a whopping 25 pounds of fentanyl, a deadly opioid that is resulting in an alarming number of overdoses nationwide.

“This investigation helped shut down a multi-state narcotics operation that dealt in cocaine, heroin and deadly fentanyl,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “If these defendants thought they could hide behind a call-in drug delivery service they underestimated the reach of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the DEA Strike Force.”

The drugs were smuggled from Florida and other areas and then sold in the Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester County and New Jersey.

The investigation was handled by DEA New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, a team of federal and local law enforcement agencies.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Arrests Border Patrol Agent on Drug Possession Charges in Texas

Border Patrol Agent Gregory Dylan Sessions

Border Patrol Agent Gregory Dylan Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent has been arrested and charged on drug possession charges in Texas.

The DEA busted Gregory Dylan Sessions, who posted a $20,000 bond and has been released from jail, MySanAntonio.com reports

Sessions, who is assigned to the Carrizo Springs Station, which is about 80 miles north of Laredo, has worked with the agency for six years.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe,” read a statement from Customs and Border Protection Spokesman Dennis Smith. “We do not tolerate corruption within our ranks, nor acts which tarnish our agency’s reputation. We fully cooperate with any criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, on or off duty.”

Details of the arrest remain murky. It wasn’t immediately clear what drugs were involved.

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Warns Cocaine Is Making a Comeback As Coca Production Rises

Cocaine-jpgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Cocaine is making a comeback.

That’s according to a recently released report by the DEA, which indicated that cocaine use and availability are rebounding, Newsweek reports

The DEA has found that coca production has significantly increased in Columbia, the primary supplier of cocaine in the U.S. since the mid-1990s.

“Average farmer profits increased more than 120 percent between 2012 and 2016,” the report underscores. “A Colombian coca farmer tending a mature quarter-hectare field realized some $1,200 in profits in 2016. This rise in potential profits provides the coca farmers with a strong economic incentive to grow more coca.”

Veteran DEA Agent Indicted on Scheme to Steal Money, Property

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A veteran DEA agent accused of stealing money and property during drug investigations has been indicted.

The agent, Chad Allen Scott, who worked in New Orleans, is also accused of perjury and accepting illegal payments of $10,000 and more for advocating for a reduced sentenced for a criminal defendant, the U.S. News reports

Also charged was Hammond Police Officer Rodney Gemar also has been charged with conspiracy.

The Justice Department investigated.