Federal drug agents are entrusted with maintaining drugs, key documents and money that are collected during criminal investigations. Two Louisiana narcotics agents were recently indicted for federal crimes because they allegedly violated these duties.
One of the suspects supervised the work of a task force whose members are accused of selling narcotics and tampering with witnesses. The lead officer has been a DEA agent since 1997. He was suspended from his duties earlier this year, but no criminal charges were filed until he was arrested a week ago. The charges included falsifying government documents, obstruction of justice, perjury, conspiracy and stealing money and property that was placed in their possession for safe keeping.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges. The second suspect is a Hammond police officer who was accused of six similar counts, including stealing and conspiracy. He likewise pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The indictment alleges that the two men knowingly failed to keep accurate inventories of property entrusted to them, and they kept the money and property for their own "unlawful use and enrichment." The two men were also charged with failing to accurately keep track of cash entrusted to them after it had been obtained in a lawful search or seizure. The trial in the both cases is set to begin in December.
The two men in this case are facing serious criminal charges, and their cases are not helped by the fact that they are police officers. Nevertheless, both are entitled to be presumed innocent, unless and until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing criminal charges of any kind is entitled to the same presumption of innocence. The assistance of an experienced criminal attorney may also prove helpful in defending against these charges.
Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, "2 Louisiana narcotics agents indicted on federal charges," Marie Simoneaux, Oct. 3, 2017