Drug Unit Probe Could Lead To Overturned Convictions

Alleged Corruption At Detroit Police Department

An ongoing investigation into the Detroit police department narcotics unit has turned up some serious problems within the unit. The investigation has looked into allegations of corruption and continues to investigate. The investigation has uncovered possible false affidavits that led to convictions. Because of these false affidavits, these convictions might be getting overturned and for some people, will mean their freedom. Investigators have also uncovered more alleged corruption in the forms of planting evidence, robbing drug dealers, and embezzling money. There have also been numerous instances where suspects were turned into confidential police informants without the proper approval. The team of investigators is comprised of Detroit police officers, Michigan state police troopers, and FBI agents. This 17-person investigation team is looking within a 10-year period of narcotics unit activity. It is estimated the investigation will be looking into as many as 10,000 police drug raids. This specific drug unit was disbanded in 2014 because of rampant internal problems in how evidence and drugs were handled.

The Current Investigation

The Detroit Police Narcotics Unit was raided back in August of 2019. Dozens of files and some 50 computers were seized and searched. A longtime narcotics officer was indicted on allegations that he took a bribe from a drug dealer. It was alleged that the narcotics officer agreed to take $15,000 in cash from the drug dealer in exchange for not seeking criminal charges for drugs seized from the drug dealer. The officer seized two kilograms of heroin, one kilogram of cocaine, and six guns from the drug dealer. The officer took this money in two separate cash payments. This officer now faces two bribery charges that carry a ten-year maximum prison sentence along with a fine of up to $250,000. Obtaining this information was the first step in an investigation that continues to uncover misconduct and corruption within the embattled Detroit narcotics unit. Critics have been vocal in their position that internal agencies should not be involved in this investigation. The Detroit police chief has countered stating that Detroit investigators were necessary due to departmental violations and issues being present that would not be spotted by outside agencies. The Detroit police chief has invited outside agencies such as the FBI to be a major part of this investigation. Anything is possible in terms of potential outcomes from this widespread investigation.

The Potential Outcomes

Finding a false affidavit from a police officer can lead to a conviction being thrown out. A conviction being thrown out can lead to not only a clean criminal record, but for serious cases, can lead to an innocent man’s freedom. The investigation team has uncovered approximately a half-dozen potentially false affidavits. Aside from convictions being overturned, police officers themselves stand the likelihood of being criminally charged themselves as some already have been. From multiple instances of narcotics officers robbing drug dealers to the officers planting drugs on suspects; it seems like the Narcotics Unit’s rampant corruption was a poorly kept secret for quite some time. The investigation has even uncovered several occurrences where funds were issued to pay informants that were instead embezzled by narcotics officers. It seems like this will be an ongoing story for the next few months. As more evidence is uncovered and more officers are charged with corruption and wrongdoing, the Detroit police department will hopefully rid itself of dirty police.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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