15 lawmen accused of protecting ‘drug dealers’
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
by Mike Robinson
Fifteen law enforcement officers
and two others were charged Tuesday
with providing security for drug shipments
and other crimes that actually
were staged as part of a series of elaborate
FBI sting operations.
In two cases, the officers met
planes arriving at a suburban airport
believing they were piloted by drug
runners and guarded duffel bags of
supposed narcotics as they were taken
to drop-off points for collection by
But the pilots were federal agents -
as were those who presented themselves
as drug dealers.
Those charged included 10 Cook
County sheriff’s correctional officers,
four suburban Harvey police officers
and one Chicago police officer.
U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald
expressed dismay at the number of
law enforcement officers who
allegedly participated in the staged
crimes, calling “particularly shocking”
the fact that some helped offload
and deliver what they believed
A 61-page FBI affidavit filed in
U.S. District Court said some officers
also protected what they believed to
be a high-stakes poker game as well
as the transport of large shipments of
cash. Two also allegedly sold cocaine.
All 17 defendants were charged
with conspiracy to possess and distribute
cocaine or heroin or both.
Fourteen were arrested or surrendered
Tuesday, and were being immediately
brought before U.S.
Magistrate Judge Michael Mason.
Two - Ahyetoro A. Taylor, 28, of
Joliet and Jermaine E. Bell, 37, of
Lynwood, both Cook County sheriff’s
officers - are on active duty with
Army National Guard units in
Afghanistan. Warrants were issued
for their arrest.
The prosecutors’ affidavit details
the staged crimes.
On May 13, during the first of two
fly-ins, three men awaited the arrival
of a six-passenger, twin-propeller
plane at west suburban DuPage
Airport: Taylor, Cook County correctional
officer Raphael Manuel and an
FBI agent posing as someone who
specialized in brokering large-scale
drug transactions, the affidavit said.
The men allegedly boarded the aircraft,
flown by two other undercover
agents, and began counting packages
of what was supposed to be cocaine
stuffed in duffel bags.
They then put the duffel bags in the
trunk of the agent’s car and the two
officers followed him to a nearby
parking lot, the affidavit said.
They then watched while still
another agent arrived, put the bags in
the trunk of a Mercedes-Benz and
drove off with them, it said.
The agent posing as the broker then
allegedly paid the two officers $4,000
each for guarding the supposed drugs.
If convicted of conspiracy to possess
and distribute more than five
kilograms of cocaine or one kilogram
of heroin, those charged would face a
mandatory minimum sentence of 10
years and a maximum of life.
The maximum fine would be $4