Originally published on August 22, 2014, at NationofChange.org
In a New York federal court this week, former Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Fuller pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to aid and abet the possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Deputy Fuller admitted to accepting protection money to transport a drug dealer along with suspected packages of cocaine while off-duty. Unbeknownst to Fuller, the drug dealer was an FBI confidential informant.
On February 19, the FBI informant paid Deputy Fuller $1,000 to safely transport him and 250 grams of cocaine from Albany to Warren County. After completing the trip, Fuller agreed to transport the drug dealer again on February 27. Fuller raised the price to $4,000 because the informant would be carrying a kilogram of cocaine this time.
Instead of using cocaine, the FBI gave the informant a kilogram of a white powder that looked similar to the drug. Since Fuller never inspected the packages, he had no idea that FBI agents were preparing to arrest him. They placed Fuller in custody and recovered the $5,000 in marked bills that their informant had paid him.
Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo stated, “We will not tolerate corruption among our ranks. Our promise to the people of Saratoga County is that we will continue to work diligently to ensure that every member of this office deserves the respect and trust of our community.”
For his role in drug trafficking, Deputy Fuller faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for December 18 in Albany, New York.
Earlier this week, Lt. Colonel Chamnarn Pumpaijit, an anti-narcotics officer with the Royal Thai police, was arrested for transporting 800,000 yaba pills and a kilogram of crystal meth. Yaba pills are sweet-coated candy laced with caffeine and methamphetamine, marketed to lure Thai children into addiction. Lt. Colonel Chamnarn Pumpaijit reportedly confessed that he had been transporting the drugs to pay off his gambling debts.
Last week, a corrections officer and a sheriff’s deputy were arrested for delivering drugs to prisoners. In Greer, South Carolina, Deputy Robert Lee Bolick was caught on tape selling prescription drugs to an undercover officer inside the detention center. On Saturday, Correctional Officer Xzraier Clark was arrested for smuggling marijuana, rolling papers, and an assortment of pills into the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker, Arkansas. Officials found the contraband hidden inside Clark’s underwear.
On June 5, narcotics investigators from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department arrested husband and wife SDPD officers Bryce and Jennifer Charpentier. Bryce has been charged with conspiracy, possessing a loaded firearm while under the influence, selling, possessing, and transporting drugs. His wife has been charged with conspiracy, selling, possessing, and transporting drugs. They allegedly sold substantial amounts of hydrocodone shortly before their arrests.
On April 8, Ralph Mata, an internal affairs officer with the Miami-Dade Police Department was arrested for his participation in smuggling drugs from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. Mata allegedly accepted bribes, provided security to cocaine smugglers, transported drug money, and offered to hire assassins dressed in police uniforms to kill their competitors. In a separate incident in July, Roderick Silva, a Miami-Dade County narcotics detective, was arrested for providing a violent gang of drug smugglers with sensitive information to help them elude arrest and eliminate their rivals.
In 2011, twenty people, including three TSA agents and two cops, were busted for drug trafficking across state lines. At Westchester County Airport in New York, TSA officer Brigitte Jones and NYPD officer Michael Brady accepted bribes in exchange for passing drugs and profits through airport security without detection. After arriving at the Palm Beach International Airport in Florida, the drugs were reportedly received by TSA officers Christopher Allen and John Best. Smugglers paid off the TSA agents and Florida State Trooper Justin Kolves to ignore anyone transporting their narcotics or profits through Central Florida.
“Corrupt law enforcement officers insult the many honorable officers who serve with integrity,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Vale. “Any law enforcement officer who violates his oath to protect the community and instead takes part in criminal activity should expect the same outcome as a criminal. The public has the right to be assured of the integrity of its public servants, in particular those charged with enforcing the law.”