Civil Liberties

Michigan Cops Used Asset Forfeiture Funds to Buy Drugs, Prostitutes, and a Tanning Salon


Former Romulus Police Chief Michael St. Andre, his wife, and five Romulus detectives pled not guilty last week to using asset forfeiture funds aquired during narcotics and prostitution investigations to buy…narcotics and prostitutes.

The Detroit Free Press reported in late September that

[Chief Michael] St. Andre directed a probe of liquor license violations, prostitution and narcotics trafficking at the Landing Strip Bar in Romulus and Subi's Place in Southgate, but during the investigation, officers embezzled drug forfeiture money, solicited prostitutes and made false police reports.

The officers are accused of spending $40,000 in forfeiture funds in one year on prostitutes, marijuana and alcohol, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, St. Andre also used $75,000 from drug forfeiture funds to buy a tanning salon in Westland for his wife.

Sandra St. Andre is accused of knowingly receiving and concealing stolen property.

According to the Wayne County Circuit Court website, the St. Andres, as well as detectives Richard Balzer, Richard Landry, Donald Hopkins, Jeremy Channells, and Larry Droege, all entered not-guilty pleas last week in the year-old case, and are free on bond.

Hat tip to former Reason intern Nick Sibilla.