UPDATE: Meeker County Deputy Charged With Stealing Drugs, Toys

AM1240-WJON, wjon.com
BYLINE: Jim Maurice

Meeker County, MN

2016-01-28_Deputy Charged With Stealing Drugs_01
Deputy Travis Sebring Photo:Meeker County Sheriff’s Office

LITCHFIELD?–?The Meeker County Sheriff’s Deputy who has been accused of steal­ing both drugs and toys has been for­mally charged today (Thursday).

Thirty-three-year-old deputy Travis Sebring of Grove City is fac­ing nine counts against him.

The crim­i­nal com­plaint says the inves­ti­ga­tion began in late Novem­ber when the Chief Sheriff’s Deputy says he spot­ted Sebring dig­ging through the Drug Take Back Box in the main lobby of the Law Enforce­ment Cen­ter in Litch­field. Sher­iff Brian Cruze also reviewed video sur­veil­lance footage from sev­eral dates, where he says Sebring had a “pat­tern” of going into the box, tak­ing out a plas­tic tote, car­ry­ing the tote to a nearby stair­well out of cam­era range, and then would return a few min­utes later.

The crim­i­nal com­plaint says Sebring has admit­ted to tak­ing med­ica­tions for per­sonal use, and says he could have been doing it for as long as a year.

He also admit­ted to tak­ing toys from a toy drive includ­ing: a foot­ball, Bar­bie doll, and Dis­ney bath­tub toys. He says he took two garbage bags full of toys on Decem­ber 19th and gave them to his fam­ily. The toys are val­ued at less than $500.

A search of Sebring’s depart­ment issued squad car also recov­ered pre­scrip­tion pills and bottles.

Sebring has resigned from the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office.

He has been released on his own recognizance.

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Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion for Prop­erty and Evidence
“Law Enforce­ment Serv­ing the Needs of Law Enforcement”

January 28, 2016

Posted In: Minnesota

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Drug charge dismissed against Petersburg man over missing $4,000 seized by police

Rich­mond Times-Dispatch, richmond.com
BYLINE: MARK BOWES Rich­mond Times-Dispatch, mbowes@timesdispatch.com
Link to Article

2016?–?01-28_charge dis­missed over miss­ing 4000.00

Drug charge dis­missed against Peters­burg man over miss­ing $4,000 seized by police
Jan­u­ary 28, 2016 5:45 pm

Peters­burg, VA

A mar­i­juana dis­tri­b­u­tion charge was dis­missed this week against a Peters­burg man on the rec­om­men­da­tion of a city pros­e­cu­tor, who indi­cated the case was tainted because it is tied to an ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tion of miss­ing cash from the Peters­burg Bureau of Police’s prop­erty and evi­dence room.

Peters­burg police seized about $4,000 from the defen­dant, Jamar L. Wes­son, 30, after he was stopped with another man last June and charged with mis­de­meanor dis­tri­b­u­tion of mar­i­juana. Police found a small amount of mar­i­juana in the car he was dri­ving, along with drug scales and a pis­tol, author­i­ties said.

The $4,000 is now missing.

The case against Wes­son is at least the third time that city pros­e­cu­tors have opted to seek the dis­missal of charges against crim­i­nal defen­dants because mon­e­tary evi­dence has inex­plic­a­bly disappeared.

Peters­burg police have pre­vi­ously acknowl­edged after an inquiry by the Rich­mond Times-Dispatch that at least $13,356 in cash is miss­ing from the department’s prop­erty room that can’t be accounted for and they are inves­ti­gat­ing the dis­crep­ancy. It could not be imme­di­ately deter­mined whether the $4,000 miss­ing in the Wes­son case is part of that total, or is in addi­tion to the amount that police reported miss­ing in November.

Ear­lier this month, Peters­burg Commonwealth’s Attor­ney Cas­san­dra Conover pub­licly announced that she had asked Vir­ginia State Police to inves­ti­gate “any issues involv­ing” the police depart­ment that had come to her atten­tion through “con­ver­sa­tions and media reports” of alleged police mis­con­duct or corruption.

Conover has declined to say how many crim­i­nal cases her office has sought to have dis­missed because of the police evi­dence room problems.

“I can­not com­ment because those cases are part of the cases turned over to the state police and the spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor,” Conover said in an email Fri­day. “Because I knew I was going to hand them over, I did not make a com­ment ear­lier. I hope you under­stand my posi­tion in that I can­not com­pro­mise the investigation.”

Peters­burg police would not dis­cuss what hap­pened to the $4,000 they seized from Wes­son, or say whether they planned to refund that amount to him.

“The requested infor­ma­tion is exempt from Virginia’s Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, because of an ongo­ing crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion being con­ducted by the Vir­ginia State Police,” said police spokes­woman Esther Hyatt. “Beyond that, the city has no fur­ther response.”

When Peters­burg Gen­eral Dis­trict Judge Ray P. Lupold on Wednes­day asked pros­e­cu­tors to explain why they were seek­ing to have the charge dis­missed against Wes­son, Senior Assis­tant Commonwealth’s Attor­ney T. Leslie Lind­sey said the rea­son was because “this is part of the inci­dents with the money,” accord­ing to a record­ing of the proceeding.

“What does that mean?” the judge replied.

“Umm … the alleged miss­ing money in the evi­dence room,” the pros­e­cu­tor said.

The judge then ques­tioned whether he should even be hear­ing the mat­ter because three judges of the 11th Judi­cial Cir­cuit, which includes Peters­burg, had recused them­selves in another, unre­lated case. “What does the money have to do with this man?” Lupold added.

“This is what I was asked to request from the court, given the inves­ti­ga­tion,” Lind­sey said.

After sev­eral more min­utes of dis­cus­sion dur­ing which the judge asked Wesson’s attor­ney for his view on the mat­ter, and whether any money had been seized from his client, the judge said:

“It puts me in a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, because three cir­cuit court judges have con­tacted the judi­cial inquiry com­mis­sion because of these prob­lems. They’ve all recused them­selves,” the judge said.

After indi­cat­ing that he would con­tinue the mat­ter until another judge could be appointed to hear the case?—?and assur­ing the defen­dant the charges would be dis­missed?—?the judge then decided, reluc­tantly and with a flash of annoy­ance, to dis­miss the charge.

“This puts me in a tough posi­tion, Mr. Lind­sey, I’ll tell you that,” Lupold said. “Your office knows that the cir­cuit court judges have all recused them­selves. … Do not bring these cases back in this court and put me in this posi­tion or these police­men, or the defense lawyer.”

In addi­tion to the issues stem­ming from the miss­ing money from the evi­dence and prop­erty room, the Peters­burg Pub­lic Defender’s Office last year raised seri­ous alle­ga­tions of police mis­con­duct stem­ming from the search of a drug defendant’s home, cit­ing state­ments by a fired city detec­tive who claimed one of his for­mer col­leagues was “dirty.”

“Such infor­ma­tion could not be ver­i­fied by my office, and as such, there became a need for a for­mal inves­ti­ga­tion,” Conover said in a state­ment released Jan. 8.

The Chester­field County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has been appointed to over­see the state police inves­ti­ga­tion and act as a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor if any wrong­do­ing is uncovered.

Peters­burg police have not responded to a Jan. 8 Times-Dispatch Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act request seek­ing the results of the department’s audit and inves­ti­ga­tion of the evi­dence room, or the sta­tus of the probe if it’s still ongo­ing. The news­pa­per also requested the names of the defen­dants tied to each of the cases where the depart­ment has acknowl­edged that money has disappeared.

State law requires a response to FOIA requests within five work­ing days, and the depart­ment has failed to do so. The law allows an addi­tional seven days if the request can­not be filled within the five-day time frame, but notice must be given in writ­ing, which the depart­ment also failed to do. The dead­line was Jan. 15.

When asked Tues­day about the sta­tus of the request, Hyatt said she was send­ing the newspaper’s FOIA let­ter to the city attor­ney for a response. She said some­one within the depart­ment had been review­ing the request earlier.

“I have not had email access since the storm and prior to that, the city was closed on two days for hol­i­days,” Hyatt said in an email. “You will be get­ting a response.”

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Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion for Prop­erty and Evidence
“Law Enforce­ment Serv­ing the Needs of Law Enforcement”

January 28, 2016

Posted In: Virginia

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HRP officer faces charges after allegedly stealing from evidence locker

Global News, globalnews.ca
BYLINE: Heide Pear­son, Online Producer/Reporter, Global News

Hal­i­fax, Nova Scotia

2016-01-27_officer allegedly stealing from evidence locker_01
A Hal­i­fax Regional Police offi­cer faces charges after sub­stances stolen from an HRP evi­dence locker. The Cana­dian Press

A Hal­i­fax Regional Police offi­cer is fac­ing three charges as a result of an inves­ti­ga­tion by the Nova Sco­tia Seri­ous Inci­dent Response Team (SiRT).

Const. Lau­rence Gary Basso has been charged with theft and breach of trust after a sub­stance known as “cut” went miss­ing from an HRP exhibit locker.

“Cut’ is used in the ille­gal drug trade and is mixed with the actual drug to increase quan­tity and prof­itabil­ity,” reads the SiRT report.

SiRT also charged Const. Basso with one count of breach of jus­tice, which relates to alleged steps that were taken to help another per­son avoid detec­tion and arrest by police.

Hal­i­fax Regional Police acknowl­edged the charges through a series of tweets, and assured the pub­lic that the charges don’t reflect the entire force’s work.

Halifax_Police, @HfxRegPolice
The charges against D/Cst Basso are an iso­lated inci­dent that doesn’t rep­re­sent the great work our offi­cers do day in & day out. 3/3 6:56 AM?—?27 Jan 2016 

“This is a very seri­ous alle­ga­tion and we don’t take this mat­ter lightly,” reads a release from HRP.

“To help pre­vent this type of sit­u­a­tion from hap­pen­ing in future, we’ve con­ducted an audit of our drug exhibits and are await­ing the results and recommendations.”

The SiRT report also says that through the course of the inves­ti­ga­tion, 20 wit­nesses and five civil­ian wit­nesses were interviewed.

The inci­dents are alleged to have hap­pened between Jan. 1 and March 14 of 2015.

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Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion for Prop­erty and Evidence
“Law Enforce­ment Serv­ing the Needs of Law Enforcement”

January 27, 2016

Posted In: zzzz...

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