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N. Jersey Officers Charged With Protecting Targets Of Drug Probe
WNBC Television ^ | 7/11/06 | Puppage

Posted on 07/11/2006 9:19:05 AM PDT by Puppage

NEWARK, N.J. -- Six police officers from northern New Jersey were indicted Tuesday, accused of protecting targets of a drug ring by tipping them off about imminent raids in return for some of the drugs.

What began as a "social relationship" between the officers and their young contemporaries, who would use small amount of drugs together, soon spiraled out of control, authorities said.

"Several of the officers were engaging in some partying," said Passaic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jay McCann. "It wasn't really a drug distribution for profit. It was more of a social relationship between the officers and the targets."

"The targets lived a high-profile lifestyle: They drove luxury vehicles and they had boats, and they partied with the officers," McCann said. "Then it cascaded from there."

The main drugs involved were the powerful painkiller OxyContin and the sleeping pill Ambien.

Eventually, the officers realized their friends were being investigated for drugs and decided to help them by tipping them off about impending raids or investigations, McCann said.

The officers were arrested within the past 18 months, but the case was made public on Tuesday with the indictments. Each officer has been suspended and faces arraignment in four to six weeks on charges including conspiracy to commit official misconduct; conspiracy to possess narcotics; official misconduct; witness tampering and hindering apprehension.

Charged were: Pompton Lakes officers Dennis DePrima, 30, Robert J. Palianto, 29, and Michael Megna, 34; West Milford Officer Paul Kleiber, 26; West Paterson Officer Richard Beagin, 26; and Passaic County Sheriff's Officer Gerry Ward, 46, whose current address is in Gastonia, N.C. It could not immediately be determined if the officers have hired lawyers.

The indictment also names seven others who were targeted in the drug probe, which included dealing in cocaine, OxyContin and anabolic steroids.

McCann said the case came to light in August 2004 when it became apparent to authorities that the targets of an ongoing drug investigation by a county's task force had been tipped off about search and arrest warrants that were about to be executed.

"There were communications intercepted on the wiretaps among the targets of the narcotics investigation that made it clear that it had been compromised," he said. "There was an intercept in which one person was making arrangements to get narcotics out of his house."

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: addiction; drugskilledbelushi; joisey; leroyknowshisrights

1 posted on 07/11/2006 9:19:10 AM PDT by Puppage
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To: Puppage
What a bunch a marooons...liked the party life as much they are now going to jail for it (although the FOP will fight tooth and nail for them to keep their pensions).
2 posted on 07/11/2006 9:22:35 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: Puppage

Perhaps the ex-officers will be able to continue their social relationships with their little friends if they nicely ask the warden if they can have adjoining cells.

3 posted on 07/11/2006 9:24:03 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (I think the border is kind of an artificial barrier - San Antonio councilwoman Patti Radle)
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To: Puppage

This can't happen in New Jersey!

4 posted on 07/11/2006 9:25:20 AM PDT by em2vn
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To: 2banana

3 of the officers are from my town. Sadly, this type of corruption happens too often in NJ.

5 posted on 07/11/2006 9:27:32 AM PDT by ScottfromNJ
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To: Puppage

This sounds like Clinton and Lassiter. Was there oral sex and 14 year old girls involved?

6 posted on 07/11/2006 9:38:45 AM PDT by Defiant (MSM are holding us hostage. Vote Dems into power, or they will let the terrorists win.)
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To: Puppage

New Jersey: "What a H#$% of a Place to Live."

My ancestors moved from there a LONG time ago...just after the American Revolution.

7 posted on 07/11/2006 9:41:00 AM PDT by madison10
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To: JerseyHighlander


8 posted on 07/11/2006 9:47:24 AM PDT by jmc813 (.)(.)
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To: Puppage
A large number of NJ municipal police officers live absolutely degenerate lives.

The only backyard BBQ I've ever been invited to where there was open drug use was given by a police officer in NJ.

These guys are always briefly "dating" women they've arrested, having affairs and ruining their own and others' marriages, brazenly flouting the traffic laws, drunk driving laws and drug laws, etc.

There was a time in America when a law enforcement officer prided himself on being a churchgoing family man of impeccable character - not a clubhopping binge drinker with a teenage girlfriend on the side.

9 posted on 07/11/2006 9:48:43 AM PDT by wideawake ("The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten." - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: wideawake

Hey Tony, Officer Smith is looking thirsty.

10 posted on 07/11/2006 11:34:58 AM PDT by FreeInWV
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To: ScottfromNJ

I guess that would be pompton lakes.

11 posted on 07/13/2006 3:37:41 PM PDT by Coleus (I Support Research using the Ethical, Effective and Moral use of stem cells: non-embryonic "adult")
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