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2 police officers accused of stealing from drug bust seizures

In Lansing, Michigan, a 16-month investigation was wrapped up when two Michigan State Police officers, and a third accomplice, were accused of running a scheme to steal money and property that had been seized during drug busts.

Two police lieutenants were charged with coordinating a criminal scheme to commit embezzlement of money and property. The officers, a 49-year-old from Monroe County and a 43-year-old from Grosse Ile, were allegedly working with a 43-year-old man from Monroe County. The officers were suspended without pay when the charges were issued.

The prosecutors contend that a significant amount of evidence was accumulated during the criminal investigation. They claim that the two police officers took money and goods from drug busts and used it for their own personal purposes as well as sold it with the assistance of the 43-year-old man from Monroe County. The 43-year-old allegedly acted as a straw buyer at police auctions and split the proceeds with the officers.

The 49-year-old was apparently the head of the Monroe Narcotics Investigations office and so some of the property included electronic equipment, flat-screen TVs, designer purses, furniture and cell phones as well as motor vehicles.

It was not mentioned why the men were suspected of this activity in the first place.

Any time there is a white collar crime such as embezzlement, there is typically a significant amount of forensic evidence to sift through. It could include phone records, video surveillance, photographic images as well as receipts or computer records. If any of the evidence or information was obtained in a manner that does not follow police procedures, it may be thrown out and not admitted as evidence.

Prison is not a welcoming place for a police officer convicted of a crime. In this case, these police officers have the right to seek an attorney who will ensure their rights are respected and that all avenues for their defense will be explored.

Source: mLIVE, "Trial ordered for 2 Michigan State Police lieutenants charged with embezzling property seized in drug raids," David Eggert, July 12, 2012

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