Michigan cops charged with buying pot, prostitutes on public dime
Several Romulus police officers, including the former police chief and his wife, were charged with using funds seized under the state’s drug asset forfeiture laws to for a wide range of illegal and illicit activities.
The Detroit News reports:
The former Romulus police chief, his wife and five Romulus officers were charged today with running a scheme in which drug forfeiture money was used to pay for prostitutes, marijuana and alcohol.
The charges are the culmination of a nearly three-year investigation by Michigan State Police into what Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy called “a culture of corruption and greed at its core.” …
Worthy said the former chief directed a team of detectives from the Romulus Police Department’s Special Investigation Unit that investigated alleged liquor violations, narcotics trafficking and prostitution at the Landing Strip bar in Romulus and Subi’s Place in Southgate from January 2010 until January 2011.
Worthy said the investigation was hidden from the supervisor of the special investigation unit. St. Andre, she said, had direct knowledge of the activities of Balzer, Landry, Hopkins, Channells and Droege. The men used drug forfeiture money to pay for prostitutes, marijuana and alcohol — to the tune of $40,000 in one year, Worthy said.
The officers have been suspended without pay pending the outcome of their trials. Asset forfeiture laws have long been controversial no matter what the money is spent on. State and federal law allows police departments to seize cash and property on the premise that it was either used in the commission of a crime or was procured with proceeds from a crime — but without even charging the individual, much less convicting them, of that crime.