Probe of Detroit police drug unit finds potential wrongdoing

Investigators looking into potential wrongdoing by members of the Detroit Police Department’s narcotics unit have found that some officers stole from drug dealers, planted drugs on suspects and lied to prosecutors to get search warrants

DETROIT -- Investigators looking into potential wrongdoing by members of the Detroit Police Department’s narcotics unit have found that some officers stole from drug dealers, planted drugs on suspects and lied to prosecutors to get search warrants, the city’s police chief said.

As the investigation continues, more problems may be found, Chief James Craig told The Detroit News for a story posted online late Wednesday. The number of internal investigators from the department’s Professional Standards section also has increased “as they started seeing the scope of the issues,” he said.

No charges have been brought related to the police department's investigation. The narcotics unit was raided Aug. 22 and files going back a decade were seized along with computers. Members of the unit with five or more years of experience were reassigned.

“The focus of our probe is roughly 10 years,” Craig said. “However, since the raid, we’ve only looked at the past year and a half. So, there’s a lot more material to go through.”

A former narcotics officer was indicted the day of the narcotics unit raid on federal charges related to bribes received from a drug dealer. He's awaiting trial, and Craig says he's looking at the crew that the officer was assigned to.

“Sadly, as we continue our probe, we think it’s going to grow in terms of magnitude,” Craig said.

So far, the investigation has found a half-dozen instances of officers allegedly stealing money from drug dealers and two in which drugs were planted on suspects, the newspaper reported. It also found that money meant to pay informants was stolen and affidavits were allegedly falsified to get search warrants from prosecutors.

Suspects also were improperly made police informants in 11 instances, said Craig, who noted that only can be authorized by the prosecutor’s office or the U.S. Attorney’s office.