730,000 Arrested for Pot in 2000

October 16 -- Australia's The Age reports: The New South Wales Police Integrity Commission yesterday produced the first "rollover" of its corruption inquiry - Detective Sergeant Raymond John Peattie, 46, "threw my hands up", confessing to a career of corruption that began in 1980, continued during the exposures of the police royal commission in 1996, and flourished thereafter, making a mockery of the NSW Police Service's much-vaunted reforms.

Mr. Peattie admitted that he and a colleague, M2, stole money from drug dealers, including $8000 on one occasion, when he ran a four-man drug squad in the Manly area between 1989 and 1990.

In 2000, as crime manager of Manly detectives, Mr Peattie gave the drug beat to two detective senior constables, David Phillip Patison, 41, and Matthew John Jasper, 30, who stole $203,000 from nine drug dealers in 11 months.

October 19 -- The Chicago Tribune reports: Three former Chicago police officers, convicted of racketeering for shaking down drug dealers for cash and cocaine and providing protection for large narcotics deliveries, on Thursday were given sentences that should keep them in prison for life.

The sentences bring to an end one of the most notorious police corruption cases in Chicago history.

All together, seven Austin District tactical police officers, plainclothes cops assigned to root out gangs and drugs on the West Side, were convicted in a series of robberies, home invasions and extortions of narcotics dealers in 1995 and 1996.

The ringleader, Edward Lee "Pacman" Jackson Jr., 31, was sentenced to 115 years in prison. Prosecutors said that Jackson was a ranking member of the Conservative Vice Lords street gang while on the police force.

M.L. Moore, 52, received a prison term of 109 years, while Alex Ramos, 36, was sentenced to 49 years.

October 20 -- Naples Daily News reports: Two current and former Hialeah, FL, police officers were charged Friday with setting up three robberies, serving as lookouts and providing a police badge, handcuffs and pepper spray to help pull them off.

The retired officer also offered his services to protect cocaine in Hialeah and suggested deliveries be wrapped as gifts so whoever was holding the drugs could deny knowing what was inside, an investigator said.

Former Officer Orestes DeSoto and Officer Cecilio Nunez were arrested Friday and face court appearances next week on federal robbery, narcotics and gun charges. In the most extreme case, a restaurant manager was abducted, beaten and threatened with a gun by DeSoto, who thought the man doubled as a cocaine dealer, according to a court affidavit filed by an investigator.

The victim was stopped by Nunez in a marked car and handcuffed before a hood was placed over his head, according to Thomas Chittum, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The man was taken to a warehouse, where DeSoto punched and kicked him and put a gun in his mouth to get him to say where he kept cocaine, Chittum wrote in the report supporting the charges.

The owner denied having any drugs, was robbed of his cash and jewelry and was dropped off near a hospital, still blindfolded and cuffed, Chittum said.

In another police corruption case in the Miami suburb, seven-year patrolman Peter Davila was charged in June with laundering money for a cocaine dealer through a security business he operated on the side.

October 22 -- Police arrested an estimated 734,498 persons for marijuana violations in 2000, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The total is the highest ever recorded by the FBI, and comprises just under half of all drug arrests in the United States.

The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeds the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Send tips and comments to Kevin Nelson at kcnelson@premier1.net.

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