Dope File: Crooked drug cops and child molesters

By Joel Miller

Kentucky blue

Reading about police corruption is standard fare for those following the drug war, but every now and then a singular sort of sleaze emerges. Such is the latest case out of Kentucky, where a pair of detectives have just been slapped with an indictment that reads like a paean to unscrupulous behavior, listing hundreds of alleged no-nos.

The 472-count indictment includes allegations of tampering with drug evidence, stealing money from informants and even forging judges’ signatures on warrants. Recalling the recent police-corruption scandals in Los Angeles, can anyone say “Rampart 2.0”?

According to a March 15 Associated Press report, the two Jefferson County Metro Narcotics detectives, Mark Watson and Christie Richardson, pled innocent to the charges and are now out on bond.

Fingered by the indictment are charges of misconduct in 24 of the detectives’ cases. The allegations include 132 counts of tampering with public records and criminal possession of a forged instrument, 70 counts of theft by deception and 20 counts of burglary, according to a spokesman for the Jefferson County commonwealth’s attorney’s office.

Depending on the outcome of the case, convictions could be overturned. Jefferson County might also want to brace for a barrage of lawsuits.

Busted over boys, boys, boys

Don’t blame it all on Catholic priests. A Las Vegas DEA agent now faces charges of soliciting boys for sex, according to the March 14 Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Agent Steven Kinney, stationed in Vegas, was busted last week on a total of three dozen criminal counts, “nine counts each of felony attempted sexual assault, felony attempted statutory sexual seduction, felony solicitation of a minor and misdemeanor annoyance of a minor,” according to the paper.

Taking a cue from 3rd-grade note passing, Kinney allegedly propositioned nine boys, ages 9-14, in department stores by penning sexual propositions on paper and throwing the missives to them wrapped around small stones. The content of the notes were, however, definitely not 3rd-grade reading material.

“The notes would ask the kids whether they wanted to do various acts and if so to meet him in a certain place, such as outside the store,” said Lt. Jeff Carlson.

While police are looking for other victims, Carlson said that so far there is little evidence Kinney was very good at his hobby – none of the agent’s targets had anything to do with him.

Kinney, says the paper, is one of four officers snagged in the past month. Earlier, the hammer fell on police officer Sean Curd when authorities supposedly found cocaine, steroids and an animal tranquilizer in his home. He faces nine felony counts.

My bud bobby

As Britain works to tone down its marijuana policies, new research shows resounding support for the move among its enforcers. Some 50 percent of officers surveyed about enforcing marijuana laws admitted smoking it themselves, according to the March 16 London Times.

“In the research, 150 frontline patrol officers who would carry out stop-and-search operations for drugs were questioned anonymously for the Joseph Rowntree Trust. Half admitted using the drug,” reports the Times.

Of those who’ve toked at one time or another, some 85 percent supported more leniency in the laws. Seventy-five percent complained that the current laws make criminals out of people who are otherwise innocent.

“Many clearly would support the Lambeth experiment in South London where users are given a warning and lose their drugs,” according to the Times. “Some have already been informally using a similar approach.”

Take the dope train

More proof that the government has what it takes to take care of drugs: If you’re a small- to mid-level dope dealer in a boring market and want to score some real sales, what do you do? Why, hop aboard public transit, naturally.

In the first of a two-part series on “commuter crime,” the San Francisco Examiner looked at months-worth of police records, finding “Street-level pushers in downtown San Francisco are largely from out of town, many hailing from Oakland and Richmond.” The dealers mainly infiltrate Frisco via Bay Area Rapid Transit.

“Dealers,” says reporter Michael Stoll, “know that public transportation is safer than driving. If they drive, they are likely to get flummoxed when they see a police car and make a moving violation, allowing the police to stop and search them. In California, they can lose their cars if convicted of transporting drugs for sale.” On the other hand, if a dealer takes advantage of the government’s light-rail trains, unless they openly peddle drugs while on board, it’s fairly hard to nab them. Crackdowns have so far proven pointless as dealers just ebb when narcs are present and flow when they’re gone.

One more reason to sing the praises of public transit?

Why do people sell drugs?

It’s a simple question, really, but one with many answers. Conservatives often tell us it’s because drug dealers want to inflict harm and destabilize our society. Others point to the fantastic profits that can be made from peddling dope. But sometimes it’s all about Main Street USA.

The two most influential cocaine traffickers in the late ’70s were Carlos Lehder and George Jung. (Johnny Depp played Jung in the 2001 movie “Blow.”) As Paul Eddy records in his 1988 book, “The Cocaine Wars,” in the early days the two smuggled most of their blow into the U.S. in suitcases carried by “mules.” Once, the mule was Lehder’s mother. When the woman showed up with 8 kilos in her baggage, needing a drink for her nerves, Jung was furious and called his often-difficult partner.

“Everybody has to work,” Lehder explained, “and she wanted a free trip to L.A. to see Disneyland.”

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