Monday, July 21, 2008

Former Sheriff Sentenced to 210 months for Transmitting Child Porn

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

John C. Richter, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, announced today that MICHAEL WADE KENT, 52, of Ponca City, Oklahoma, was sentenced to serve 210 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, for using the internet to transmit child pornography. Kent was a former Deputy Sheriff in Kay County who was indicted last July by a federal grand jury.

At his plea hearing in December of 2007, Kent admitted that on February 21, 2007, he sent a video clip of a 12-13 year old girl engaged in oral sex using the internet. The person to whom he sent the video was an undercover FBI agent.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

The case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Sengel.

Guilty Plea Ends Phase of Lengthy Narcotics and Public Corruption Investigation

United States Attorney David E. O'Meilia announced that a guilty plea in federal court ends a phase in a complex multi-agency investigation that spanned four years and is related to the investigation and prosecutions of at least 25 other individuals.

Kejuan Lavell Daniels, age 34, of Tulsa, pled guilty today to Conspiracy, and admitted that between December 2002 until sometime in 2006, he entered into agreements with others to import and distribute in excess of five kilograms of cocaine and in excess of 50 grams of crack cocaine. According to the plea agreement, the total sum of cocaine that was distributed in the Tulsa area was in excess of 100 kilograms (220 pounds).

The original investigation began in December 2004 as a narcotics matter, but it was discovered that Daniels and his organization had cultivated individuals within local law enforcement to obtain sensitive information in order to protect his drug trafficking activities and to avoid detection and apprehension. The resulting public corruption investigation resulted in the convictions of former Tulsa police officer and detective Rico Yarbrough, former Tulsa police records clerk DeShon Stanley and her mother Diana Brice. Another branch of the investigation ultimately led to the investigation, prosecution and conviction of a number of individuals on income tax fraud to include a Tulsa tax preparer. Investigators utilized three court authorized wiretaps during the probe of Daniel's organization which resulted in the interception of over 40,000 telephone calls and text messages in just over three months.

The law enforcement effort was spearheaded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (O.C.D.E.T.F.), and included agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Intelligence Division, and Task Force Officers assigned from the Tulsa Police Department Special Investigations Division.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert T. Raley and Joseph F. Wilson were involved in coordinating the Task Force investigation and handled the prosecution of the case against defendant Kejuan Daniels.

U.S. Attorney O'Meilia commended the outstanding efforts of all the prosecutors and law enforcement agents involved in the investigation and prosecution, further stating: A The Northern District of Oklahoma Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force will relentlessly identify, pursue, disrupt and dismantle large drug trafficking organizations. We will insure that the drug traffickers, as well as their sources of supply and anyone who furthers the enterprise, are investigated, prosecuted, and that their ill-gotten profits and property are taken away and forfeited to the government. The investigation and prosecution of the high-level members of this significant cocaine trafficking endeavor and the corrupt public servants that assisted them is just part of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies continuing coordinated efforts to make our communities in northeast Oklahoma safer by combating the distribution of illegal drugs.

Former Officer Charged with Embezzlement


A former Moffett police officer was charged Wednesday for embezzlement for allegedly failing to return police-issued weapons belonging to the town.

Larry G. Ruiz Jr., 36, of Sallisaw was charged in Sequoyah County District Court in Sallisaw with one count of embezzlement relating to a 12-gauge shotgun and a pistol, worth over $1,000, owned by the town, court records indicate.

Moffett Police Chief Charles Miller wrote in a statement that Ruiz was employed as a police officer by the town on Jan. 8, 2006. On Oct. 1, 2007, Ruiz was laid off from his position. Since that time, Miller wrote that Ruiz has been verbally asked to return any items issued to him that are property of the police department. Several attempts by Miller and other officers were made by the town to obtain the items, Miller said.

Miller spoke to Ruiz on two occasions. Ruiz allegedly told Miller that he had possession of the duty weapons, including pistols, a shotgun and Taser. Ruiz allegedly told Miller that he sold one of the pistols believing to be a gift personally to him. Miller told Ruiz to make an effort to get the pistol back and return all the items issued to him.

Ruiz allegedly told Miller that his wife, from whom he was separated, had possession of his other items. Miller told Ruiz on June 6 that he had 48 hours to return the items. Ruiz allegedly agreed to return the weapons and his police officer badges.

On July 11, Miller spoke with Ruiz again, who allegedly said he would turn in his items on the following Sunday.

Miller wrote that all efforts to get the property back have been ignored. Ruiz has a commission card that is not in effect and several deadly weapons, along with all his badges and uniforms, Miller reported. Miller wrote that Ruiz has also been enrolling in training classes as an officer for the town without Miller's permission.

Miller said his office has received a copy of a Tulsa County petition for a protective order concerning Ruiz's wife and children, filed June 6. There is also allegedly a misdemeanor warrant for Ruiz's arrest for misdemeanor harassing and threatening communication by phone, Miller wrote.

Exercise in Police Corruption


It can be tough to be one of those too-perfect Connecticut towns.

In Greenwich, Wifflegate came to a rancorous, well-publicized close on Friday morning as a town demolition crew using sledgehammers and crowbars knocked down the offending Wiffle ball park built by local youths, providing ample grist for meditations on suburban mores, modern parenting, the tyranny of lawyers and the phrase Greenwich Mean Time.

Sixty-three miles up Interstate 95, in this affluent little seaside town, which some locals like to think of as Greenwich in a lower gear, the fly in the punch bowl is a sprawling exercise in police corruption that’s been dragging on for almost two years. In a town of 18,000 with virtually no violent crime, 8 officers, so far, on a force of 24 have been accused of taking part in or turning a blind eye to crimes including burglaries, the electronic stalking of women, sex with prostitutes and worker compensation fraud. It’s like a low-life Elmore Leonard novel transported from Detroit to Martha’s Vineyard that began when an officer was caught on a surveillance camera removing bags of lobsters from Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, a popular local restaurant.

It’s a reminder that, as any marketing person will tell you, the glossier the brand, the farther the bad news travels.

“The first feeling people have is betrayal that people we trusted have dishonored us and stabbed us in the back,” said Alfred J. Goldberg, a former hospital administrator and a Democrat, elected first selectman, a post akin to mayor, a year ago in this heavily Republican town, partly in response to the police scandals.

“The second is that they’re upset by the besmirching of this community’s reputation. They hate it when they go someplace and people say, ‘Oh, you’re from Madison. Those guys grab any butter to go with the lobster?’ Or ‘You don’t have to pay those cops a lot with those fringe benefits.’ People hate it. They’re so proud of this town, they hate having to suffer the slings and arrows of cheap insults.”

At least Greenwich usually gets in the news for mini-dramas bordering on self-parody — asking the state for emergency aid because of the influx of cars from New York coming to buy Powerball tickets, civic hysteria over goose droppings, keeping outsiders off the town beach, knocking down a Wiffle ball field.

Madison, settled in 1641, is a much more low-key place, known for its New England atmospherics and its lovely beaches, where some are happy to be compared with Greenwich and many are not. The coffee shops on Boston Post Road tend to be local and independent. One of the nation’s most admired independent bookstores, R. J. Julia Booksellers, sits across the street from the esteemed Madison Art Cinemas (coming Aug. 1: “Brideshead Revisited”). The local library has a big sign out front reading “Art to Benefit the Blind.” On the other hand, the most conspicuous local industry is wealth management.

But Madison’s bad news has had real-world consequences — consequences that include the $337,420 in legal fees last year alone relating to the eight officers fired, suspended or facing charges; the residents who think twice before calling the police; and the effects on the justice system. One man involved in a drunken-driving death avoided possible prison time in April because a police officer who investigated the case had been recently fired in the wake of the prostitution investigation. The prosecutor figured the officer would not make much of a witness.

Mr. Goldberg, who was elected after riding his bicycle to knock on 1,523 doors, said it had been painful, but people expect the town to uncover every stone, and the end of the investigation is in sight. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a hearing at the end of the month will examine the actions of a widely admired police lieutenant. And the hearing after that concerns the suspended police chief, Paul Jakubson, and will probably reprise every bit of dirty laundry and then some. Mr. Goldberg said that Chief Jakubson, like all the others under investigation, deserved the presumption of innocence and that it would be a mistake to lump the town’s good officers with the dishonorable ones. But he also said there was no guarantee other officers wouldn’t be implicated.

Still, in town, the police scandals have dragged on for so long, and enough new officers have been hired, that many people seem to have already moved on. “People are disgusted, but there’s a sense it’s being taken care of,” said Arnold S. Gorlick, owner of the cinema.

Mr. Goldberg, a history buff with a picture of James Madison behind his desk, frets about the scandal’s legs. “People have had friends and relatives as far away as New Zealand who’ve heard about the Madison police,” he said. “They come back from Asia and say it was on Bloomberg Asia that day.”

It’s all pretty mortifying. Still, he sighed, “It was the lobster that really got everyone’s attention.”

Maybe if they’d stolen plumbing supplies, no one outside town would have paid much attention.

Two Greensboro Officer Fired for Sexual Assault


Two of the three Greensboro police officers accused of sexual assault by a female officer were recommended to be fired today, according to City Manager Mitchell Johnson. Both can appeal.

Sgt. A.S. Wallace and Officer J.O. LeGrand had been on paid leave while police and prosecutors investigated the complaint filed in December. Guilford District Attorney Doug Henderson decided in May not to prosecute the three officers, citing a lack of evidence.

The employment status of the third officer -- C.S. Stevens -- has not changed, Johnson said. Stevens was put on administrative leave in December.

After the decision not to prosecute, the police department's professional standards division continued an administrative investigation into whether any officers violated the department's rules.

Police employees who are "recommended for termination" may typically pursue one of three options:

They may accept the recommended punishment
They may appeal the punishment to the police chief
They may request a general board of inquiry, which is an internal departmental hearing that includes command level personnel and peers of the accused, as well as the police chief.
In December, a female police officer reported being sexually assaulted after she got into a vehicle with three on-duty police officers near the Four Seasons Town Centre.