Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jul 2007
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Copyright: 2007, The Detroit News
Author: Norman Sinclair, The Detroit News
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


DETROIT -- A 17-year veteran narcotics officer is suspected of
stealing six kilos, or 13 pounds, of pure cocaine worth at least $2.4
million, authorities said.

Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said Thursday the officer,
whom she didn't identify, signed out the drugs from the department's
evidence room and replaced it last week with imitation cocaine.

The officer has been suspended, she said, and the matter has been
turned over to the FBI for further investigation. Meanwhile, the
department will continue to review whether the officer is suspected in
other illegal activities, she said.

Bully-Cummings would not reveal the officer's specific assignment, but
she did say it wouldn't raise suspicion for him to sign out actual
drugs. Bully-Cummings said the criminal case in which the cocaine was
evidence had ended before they discovered the theft.

Police normally hold evidence until the conclusion of the appeals

"I want to emphasize that this individual turned his back on the
police department and the public he swore to protect," Bully-Cummings
said. "His actions do not reflect the spirit of the other officers who
do their duty every day."

The police department has had problems with the evidence room for

In October 2002, nine officers were indicted on federal charges that
they stole at least 222 pounds of cocaine from the property room.

In 1994, an officer was sentenced to 33 months in prison for stealing
200 weapons that were found in Sanilac County.

Beginning with former Police Chief Jerry Oliver, the department
tightened access to evidence and took other steps intended to prevent
officer theft.

In the latest case, the officer apparently had to sign out the drugs
and the bogus drugs seem to have been discovered relatively quickly.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Steve Heath