Much of the city was abuzz last week over a story involving a veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department who is now facing federal charges for allegedly using his status as an intelligence officer to alert his half-brother to ongoing surveillance by the FBI and DEA.
According to a now unsealed federal indictment, the 51-year-old officer was a member of the criminal-intelligence unit, which is responsible for gathering relevant information related to any kind of criminal activity and passing it along to other units on the force.
One of the areas that the officer was assigned to monitor was the corner of Indiana and Hartville Streets, where in June 2011, DEA and FBI officials were conducting camera surveillance of a garage suspected to be involved in a drug trafficking operation.
The officer's half-brother, a suspected drug dealer, would allegedly conduct business at the garage and contacted his policeman brother when he learned that there was a surveillance camera mounted outside the garage.
The officer purportedly told his half-brother that he would "check it out" for him.
The indictment states that several days later, the officer informed his half-brother that the federal government was indeed conducting surveillance, and alerted him to the direction of the camera as well as its strong recording abilities. That night, authorities claim that cars and guns were removed from the garage.
In July 2011, the DEA and FBI raided the garage and made several arrests. Once again, the half-brother contacted the officer and told him of what transpired. The officer then allegedly arrived at the garage and began looking into the windows when he was spotted by federal agents. He purportedly lied about his reasons for being there, did not give his name and offered to help in the search.
The indictment states that the officer then left the scene and soon thereafter called his half-brother, providing information about the drug investigation, instructing him to remove his picture from his home and preparing him on what to tell the federal agents during questioning.
The officer, a 23-year veteran of the force, has now been charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents. He was also suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss. As for the half-brother, he is facing now a multitude of federal drug charges.
Stay tuned for future updates on this fascinating case ...
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Philly officer charged with tipping off his half-brother in a drug-trafficking case," Allison Steele, Aug. 3, 2012